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The Overwhelming Simplicity of "Raimund Girke 1930 - 2002" at Gallery Sonja Roesch

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Raimund Girke made deceptively simple paintings -- the kind of art that people think their kids could do. With determined gesture and controlled expression, the late German artist dragged long, brushy strokes across his canvases.

It's pretty masterful work; the marks are forceful and unwavering, the paintings dominated by strokes of white over dark grounds. Paintings like this can succeed or fail in ways that are incredibly difficult to categorize, as illustrated by the show itself, which features a couple near-misses shown with some standout works.

Die Kraft der Vertikalen (1997) has an amazing presence and is the centerpiece of the show. It's a great rush of frosty white strokes over and intermingled with dark blue-black ones. Don't try this at home.

Through October 29. Gallery Sonja Roesch, 2309 Caroline St., 713-659-5424.

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