Zoya Tommy Reunites Contemporary Artists for Final Show Before Moving Downtown

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Viewing the New Work: Group Show exhibit at Zoya Tommy Gallery is a bit like attending a class reunion - an opportunity to see classmates from years past and find out what they're doing today. A collective of ten artists, most of who have shown here in the past, represents the swan song for this location, but not for this gallery, which will reopen in a larger venue at 4102 Fannin on March 6.

Marco Villegas' Long May She Wave was a standout, a 60" x 72" latex on canvas piece with multi-dimensional layers of blacks on white and a thoughtfully placed breaking waves stencil effect.

Lindsey Nobel's Liquid Line offered a study of white on white fibrous synapses, resting on top of the canvas with an almost organic floral portrayal of brain connections. I'd like to see the technique duplicated with a contrasting base.

Of Whitney Oldenburg's two pieces, both untitled, I gravitated toward her study in blue, which evoked images of mossy tendrils dripping from a moon rising over the waterfront.

Ibsen Espada's almost graffiti-like Industry reminded me of an automobile-bicycle accident with road tracks and flying bike parts. It was an enjoyable ride as his swirls of ink on billboard led me in and around the thick, winding trails.

It helps to know that multimedia artist Felipe Lopez has been working on his Hook series of late; last year's work included oversized fishing lures, sometimes encased in light bulbs, hooks made of two-by-fours, and nude women forming skulls with fish hook fangs. He continues the theme in this show, but with mixed results. White Degrees showed an architecturally perfect deep blue sea with a solo hook riding the calm ocean waters. Between Then and Now featured a cobalt-blue hook suspended by filament, hanging like the sword of Damocles over a mirror and surrounded by ornate picture frames. It was only Le Crochet Floraison that seemed unfinished, with its crudely painted double-stemmed flowers affixed to the wooden hook base with messily applied plaster.

The late painter and collage artist Laurent Boccara's untitled 9" x 9" oil on canvas pieces seemed to represent an exercise in color theory. The power of the curator was evident, however, in the 13 pieces that were arranged horizontally near the gallery's entrance. Ranging in size from 7" x 5" to 10" x 8", they collectively told a story of a man fascinated by maps, geography, ancient labyrinths and science. It was only later, reading his biography, when I realized he also had worked as a field archaeologist.

New to the gallery, so technically not part of the "class reunion," Eric Sall's Slice portrayed a futuristic Picasso-like organism with an embryonic dark center, rendered with meticulous edges and overlays of multi-sized leaves and resting on a smeared base of red stars. His other three pieces used the similar technique of dark under painting, with an over painting of oil, then a peeling away of patterned diamond and geometric shapes.

New Work: Group Show continues through February 26, at Zoya Tommy Gallery, 4411 Montrose, open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 713-523-7427, zoyatommy.com.

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