Capsule Reviews

"Dan Havel: House Divided" Dan Havel, along with Dean Ruck, deconstructed an old bungalow in Montrose to create Inversion, a traffic-stopping public artwork. This time Havel is working solo and constructing a small wooden bungalow -- sort of. His installation "House Divided" at DiverseWorks consists of a child's playhouse cut in half by a corrugated metal fence. The work is a part of several DiverseWorks shows exploring U.S./Mexico border issues. The fence alludes to the border and its planned Berlin Wall-ization. You can walk into the house, decorated with hunting-themed curtains and desert crossing-themed wall paper. Surveillance accessories -- binoculars and a camouflage Mag-Lite flashlight -- rest near a chair. A "night vision video" high in the corner of the gallery shows a masked man (Havel) taking a Sawzall to the unseen house on the other side of the fence. Nights after the gallery closes, Havel is working on cutting the house apart into "pieces representing the 30 states of Mexico." A pile of "smuggled" debris from the hidden part is the house is stacked below the video. The pieces will be "reunited to form a map of Mexico." The video of destruction, as well as the seen and unseen parts of the house, are all interesting ideas, but the installation's multiple references to the border issue become a little convoluted. Through December 16 at DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 713-223-8346.

"Kim Squaglia" Kim Squaglia makes paintings that are so beautifully and sleekly crafted, they feel like design objects. She uses fabulous colors: the palest of sage greens, hot magentas, chocolaty browns, dusty pinks, a 1950's turquoise...Her looping lines, pours of color and carefully delineated biomorphically abstract forms float in and over thick, perfect layers of resin. The resin creates glossy and clear or matte and translucent strata, adding physical and visual depth to the artist's imagery. But the ultimate kicker is that while Squaglia's paintings have the visual and tactile appeal of ultra high-end designer objects, their quirky imagery keeps them firmly in the realm of fine art. Through February 4 at Finesilver Gallery, 3913 Main, 713-524-3733.

"Nina Bovasso: Pure Plastic Plastic par mano a mano" The color in Nina Bovasso's paintings is so vibrant, it strays into the neon. Her works are riotous affairs comprised of bold strokes and primarily abstract forms. The paintings are filled with circles, squares and grids, but there's nothing hard-edged about them; they have the air of a crazy quilt. The imagery is more drawn than painted, and it's executed in a determined but childlike manner. Loopy little flowers are tossed in for good measure. It's easy for an artist to throw a lot of colors and marks on the page, but controlling the cacophony is hard to pull off. Bovasso manages it with glee. Through December 30 at Inman Gallery, 3901 Main, 713-526-7800.

"White Noise" At the opening of this exhibition of work by four Norwegian artists at the Art League Houston, choreographer and dancer Øyvind Jørgensen was performing. He was sitting on a cube and staring into space. Jørgensen was apparently representing the Norwegian branch of the Association of Slow Moving and Expressionless Performance Artists. The nonperformance art was marginally better. Lise Bjørne's curtain of needles was pretty and sparkly, until you figured out they were used acupuncture needles. In what has to be a labor-intensive process, Janine Magelssen mixes powdered chalk with glue and layers it onto Plexiglas panels, creating bas-relief geometric shapes -- circles, rectangles and angled lines -- on the white surfaces. At first glance, the work looks like generic modern home décor straight from Ikea, but if you take the time to walk up to it and really look at it, it gets a little better. Accompanying the visual work is a sound piece by audio artist Nils Olav Bøe that must be meant as a sort of soundtrack for the show. Like Jørgensen's contribution, it's competently mediocre. Through January 5 at the Art League Houston, 1953 Montrose Blvd., 713-523-9530.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kelly Klaasmeyer
Contact: Kelly Klaasmeyer