There is an inspired pairing up at Anya Tish Gallery right now with Orna Feinstein and Carlos Zerpabzueta. Both multimedia artists traffic in works that are optically playful and vibrantly colorful, making for a show that is dizzyingly fun to experience.
Feinstein, a Houston artist from Israel, has shown at Anya Tish four previous times, while this marks the first appearance by the Venezuelan-born Zerpabzueta, but they're a natural match. Both use materials that are very plastic-y -- Feinstein with her plexi, Zerpabzueta with his co-polyester. These materials can be very cold, disengaging and, sometimes in the case of Zerpabzueta's work, muddy, but once you get past that, they are highly interactive thanks to their three-dimensional qualities.
Feinstein creates an almost "Magic Eye" effect with her Tree Dynamics series -- layered pieces of fabric, paper and monoprint on plexi that radiate orbs meant to represent the concentric circles of tree rings. There's a lot of tension in the works, between the natural and synthetic, as well as her use of a traditional printmaking medium in such a contemporary way. Feinstein continues to play with that dynamic in her Morel series, which are inspired by the structure of a plant or fungus when observed under a microscope. These sculptural works feature sheets of monoprint on plexi that seem to move and pulsate as you walk around them, as if they're alive.
Zerpabzueta studied architecture at one point, and his minutely constructed works here do take on a strong architectural quality. There are boxes and monitor-like structures that are filled with layers of acrylic on co-polyester that take the form of patterns or text. They seem like little puzzles, pieces that need to be decoded. That's especially the case with Codigo de Marcas, a mounted piece that looks like an open book that's layered with letters in yellow, black, red and blue. Despite the familiar letters, these textual elements don't reveal anything (at least, not to a solely English-fluent viewer). The more you stare at it, the less sense it makes, but you can't help but continue to stare.
The exception to all this vibrancy is TranslucenTree, a wall installation by Feinstein that consists of cascading plexi and lexon. It's a cool, futuristic piece that seems out of place among all this color, but that also seems to be art of the point. Feinstein is still experimenting with illusion and form, but attempting to do so in the purest way possible -- translucent.
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"Translucent Trajectories" at Anya Tish Gallery, 4411 Montrose, runs now through November 10. For more information, call 713-524-2299 or visit www.anyatishgallery.com.