Visual Arts

Things Are Not Always What They Seem: The Illusion of the Precise and Liquescent Light at Wade Wilson Art and Anya Tish Gallery

Stand approximately 10 feet away from "I Told You So," Todd Williamson's canvas painting depicting a lone white line traveling horizontally across a dark background. Next to it, a grayish black line creeps vertically down the perpetual white space of "Grand, Precise, Illusion," another Williamson canvas piece. Take a few steps closer to these paintings, and the lines that seemed so perfect become less so; some are smudged, others are bumpy, and you realize what you have been observing is not in fact precision, but The Illusion of the Precise, a three-person presentation of works that ask the question, "What is the relationship between line and space?"

Additionally, Williamson, with artists Robert Ryman and Mark Williams, asks, "Where does line end and space begin?" While Williamson's pieces reveal deep contrasts, Williams' oil on paper works are subtle feats of geometry and Ryman's paper etchings require microscopic review.

Ryman's framed pieces look, from a distance, much simpler than Williams' and Williamson's. Once again, however, come closer to discover a measurable amount of detailed etching of lines into pieces of paper.

Williams' "Intent," "Everything" and "Suspect" all look like an artist's interpretation of Tetris. The black-and-white blocks of "Suspect" convey the hypothesis that line and space are illusions most clearly; does the white space start where the black blocks end, or does the black space start where the white ends? It's all very confusing.

With the same theme of imprecise lines, blurring between lines and spaces and intricate details that you have to look hard at to uncover, The Illusion of the Precise is an allegory for one of life's greatest truisms: Things are not always what they seem.

It's harder to determine which life lessons, if any, apply to Adela Andea's Mandragora: Liquescent Light exhibition upstairs at Anya Tish gallery. Perhaps: Variety is the spice of life? On second thought, Liquescent Light needs no philosophical bend; "Just enjoy us," the cacophonous pieces suggest. A feat of creative engineering, Liquescent Light, broken down to mean "liquid fluorescent light," is a playground for the eyes: light, electricity, geometry and tubing come together on the walls. With the ability to nearly walk into "Impervious Geometry," an installation of hanging LED neon lights and Plexiglas tubes tucked into the back corner of Anya Tish, it's a playground for the hands and feet, as well.

From left to right, the exhibition grows from pretty to pretty cool. The Valentine-y "Cryogenic Serpent" looks nothing like it sounds. The coiled pink serpent is a combination of Plexiglas, plastic pieces and neon lights that give off a romantic pink hue -- something a starry-eyed fifth-grader might make for his crush. On the opposite wall, "Liquescent Nebula" looks exactly like it sounds. This piece is also heavy on neon lights and Plexiglas, with an added twist of rotating fans that buzz cool air onto your face -- an engineer's dream.

The Illusion of the Precise will be on view at Wade Wilson Art until February 2. For more information, visit Mandragora: Liquescent Light will be on display at Anya Tish Gallery until February 9. For more information, visit

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.
Altamese Osborne
Contact: Altamese Osborne