Visual Arts

Opposites Attract at PG Contemporary


PG Contemporary has two shows up that couldn't be more different from each other. In one room, you have Hillevi Baar's elaborate drawings and wall hangings that rely heavily on nature imagery. In the other, you have J Hill's straight-forward design consisting mostly of reproductions of electronic equipment in MDF. For all of Baar's femininity, delicateness, color and ephemerality, Hill counters with masculine, hard-edged, monochrome, solid pieces.

At the same time, there is much that unites them. For one -- Hill, the head of the Sculpture Department for the Glassell School of Art, and Baar, a heavily collected Houston artist, are married. Though their relationship had very little to do with the conception of the dual show (the gallery had been interested in doing solo shows with both artists, and the timing just worked out), married artists do hold a certain intrigue when it comes to creative professions. There's even a show up now at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont called "Espoused" that consists only of Texas artists in partnerships, whether that means marriage or just work (for some reason, Hillevi and Hill are curiously absent from that show).

There are other similarities, too. They are both sculptors, for one, and both will use the wall to hang their pieces. They are also concerned with detail -- Baar's works in graphite on Mylar are carefully composed and deliberate, even when they have names like Unraveled, while Hill's electronic reproductions are very clean and exact.

Still, where Hill's work is pretty conceptual and evocative, speaking to how memory influences the form objects take on, Hillevi's is more visceral. Her pieces are all about color, patterns and textures, and you can't help get up close to take it in. That's especially the case with the marvel, Gentle Dragons, which consists of 73 steel rods stuck into the wall with circles of circular pieces of mylar bunched together like a floral arrangement in every color of the rainbow. The piece smoothly ebbs up and down along the length of a wall like beautiful music. It's impossible to photograph properly, too -- it's the type of work that just needs to be experienced.

"Hillevi Baar: Ambrosia" and "J Hill: New Sculpture with Implied Volume" at PG Contemporary, 3227 Main Street, run now through October 27. For more information, call 713-523-7424 or visit www.pgcontemporary.com.

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Meredith Deliso
Contact: Meredith Deliso