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Looks Can Be Deceiving at PG Contemporary

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David Lozano's paintings lie to you. In "Since I've Been Away," his solo show at PG Contemporary's new space, there's image after image of psychedelic patterns of blues, magentas and greens. These ribboned, weaving or spastic splashes of color stretch out, like pours of paint, over fuzzed-out, blown-up photos of rooms, street scenes or entirely unrecognizable grounds. But in fact, it's all meticulously, painstakingly planned. The seemingly random "pours of paint," à la Jackson Pollack? Created with a brush and sign painter's enamel. Those fuzzed-out "photographs" that, combined with the enamel, seem to evoke another dimension? Airbrushed (not the Photoshop kind, but the painting kind).

It's a neat trick at first when you realize those intense, bold colors are not the work of some elaborate pouring process, but the hand of the artist, who's clearly studied paint movement. But with painting after painting of the same thing, this trick quickly loses its charm. While the pieces are fun, even "fabulous," as the artist says -- there's even one yellow, orange and blue concoction aptly called "Joy Pop" -- beyond that initial illusion that attracts your eye, there's not much substance. It's all contrived chaos, with the paintings lacking the carefree, spontaneous nature that they seem to be trying to convey.

There was one piece that managed to stand out from the dozen other loud works -- the teal, orangey-pink "Crush of Glimmer." This one stood apart, thanks to some detailed, even sensual patterns that abandoned the effect of poured paint, and a stretch of pink and blue sequins. Yes, sequins. It's a pretty campy number as a result of this "bling bling," to use the words of a gallery goer. But it's one that can really call itself fabulous.

"Since I've Been Away" is at PG Contemporary, 3227 Milam, now through February 11. For more information call 713-523-7424 or visit the gallery's website.

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