With the vibrant, chromatic works on paper and plastic currently up at Goldesberry Gallery, you'd think Carlos Cruz-Diez was back in town. You'd only be half wrong.
This past spring, Edward Lane McCartney took a course with the Venezuelan kinetic and Op artist while he was in town for his MFAH run, and Cruz-Diez clearly left a strong impression. Since that time, McCartney has produced an impressive amount of work in paper and jewelry now on display at the Upper Kirby gallery in Shift.
Like Cruz-Diez, McCartney's works employ stacked lines of solid bold colors that play with light and movement. But the Houston artist breaks away from just rectangular blocks, creating sculptures in the shape of circles, like neon pinwheels or Rolodexes, and empire lampshades. His technique is also all his own, as he inserts sheets of blue, green, yellow and red paper between the pages of paperback books to create his lines of color. Though like Cruz-Diez's work, the resulting pieces aren't meant to be viewed straight on -- moving slightly to the right or left changes the color and shape of each one for a nifty optical effect.
The title of the show refers to this play on color. It also can allude to McCartney's work itself, as the loving homage to Cruz-Diez is a departure for the political artist, whose recent work has addressed "Don't ask, don't tell" and pedophilia in the Catholic Church.
McCartney is also a skilled jeweler, and that talent is on display here. There are miniature versions of his paper sculptures in the form of earrings and necklaces. Other series play with color using such varied materials as volcanic sand, metals manipulated by oxidation firing, and plastic earrings, necklaces and bracelets that have spiraling lines of color in a moiré pattern. Like the paper sculptures, these works can be put on display -- the textured, metal pieces even hang on the wall, like paintings -- but they're meant to be worn by those who are as bold as the color themselves.
It all makes for a fun, playful show that's completely enjoyable -- the vibrant paper sculptures and moiré-patterned jewelry seem ripped from a Carnival. Though the familiar color play does lean a bit too heavily on the famous work of the Op artist, making McCartney a poor man's Carlos Cruz-Diez, in the end, surrounded by such blinding brightness, it's almost impossible to dislike it.
"Shift" at Goldesberry Gallery, 2625 Colquitt Street, now through March 17. For info, call 713-528-0405 or visit the gallery's website.
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