Trey Egan's Channels Emotion and Frustration in His "Signal Chamber" Exhibit

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo by Trey Egan
Worlds Apart; Days Turn Into Night
Action painter Trey Egan channels personal emotion and the pain of creative or financial frustrations, amplified by super loud electronic music, to produce multi-layered oil paintings of non-objective physicality in his "Signal Chamber" exhibit at McMurtrey Gallery.

Egan has an uncanny ability to portray depth, with his layering process of earlier stages of flatter, natural tones, followed by later stages of spot-putted saturated colors. He is fascinated by the mechanics of music production, likening his work to the stacking of similar elements to achieve a more powerful outcome. There is a busy-ness to his works, a continuity of his pre-2011 crowds of people, but he has since realized that the subject matter is less important than the energy and controlled chaos of thoughtfully placed shapes and color.


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Adela Andea's "On the Left Side of Mercury" Is Otherworldly, of Course

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of Anya Tish Gallery
White Dwarf, 2014
A person doesn't need to book a flight on Virgin Galactic to travel to outer space; just stop by Anya Tish Gallery to see Adela Andea's imaginary naturescapes brought to life through neon, LED lights, Plexiglass, mirrors and spec-fabricated consumer electronics. The pieces in the series, "On the Left Side of Mercury," are both otherworldly, such as the cataclysm of an exploding planet, and also terrestrial, though straight from the depths of the Mariana Trench.

I wanted to use the word bioluminescence to describe her pieces, but she's used that title in previous exhibits; though there's no denying that her creations could be used to warn or evade predators, to lure or detect prey, or as inter-species communications.

First to catch the eye is Solar Wind, an intricate arrangement of rings, coils, tubing and clusters with magenta flashing lights, planets being birthed and ending with an arrow leading to the great beyond. This piece is so detailed that even the shadows cast upon the wall are fascinating.


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"Arranging Family:" First Solo Exhibit by Carlee Fernandez

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of the artist and Inman Gallery
Let This Cup Pass From Us

Photographer and sculptor Carlee Fernandez uses the central theme of family - and how the past intersects with the present and gives hope for the future - to demonstrate her centeredness and strength. According to Ernest Becker's Denial of Death, to live a truly authentic and genuine life, a person must face the reality of death and limitation. Fernandez's reverence for her ancestors, who join her in spirit, allows her to create something larger than self in her first solo exhibition in Houston, "Arranging Family," at Inman Gallery.

Family, Baptismal Cup, a larger-than-life bronze sculpture (32" x 48" x 24"), was inspired by her husband's christening cup. She has meticulously added the names and birthdates for his ancestors back to Rufus (1804) and Emma (1809). Winding around from the other side, she also engraved her own family line, over seven generations, until they meet together with the birth of their sons, Xavier and William. It's a bittersweet tribute, lovely in its beauty, but sad in the knowledge that the family tree must end here, as the cup is now full. The piece appears again in an archival print (72" x 55"), Let This Cup Pass From Us, as the legs of her small family of four protrude out, with just the faintest glimpse of the tops of heads inside.

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8th Annual Texas Teapot Tournament Commences in Style

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo by Meryl Ruth
Ra-ta-tat Tea by Meryl Ruth

"This ain't your Grandma's teapot." With apologies to the grammar police, I highly recommend visiting 18 Hands Gallery to see ceramic creations that resemble space creatures, leopard-print boots, monkey heads or something straight out of Tim Burton's brain. Entries from the Houston-based Clay Arts Museum and Educational Organization are on display this month in CAMEO's 8th Annual Texas Teapot Tournament.

A person could easily picture Hobbits from Middle-earth drinking tea from Welsh ceramist Geoffrey Swindell's Best of Show entry; tiny polka dots on a delicate miniature pot with minaret top. Imagine viewing farmlands from an airplane window, but in hues of brown, orange and tan.

Second place winner Scott Dooley's Industrial Teapot was all angles and elbows; a mottled patchwork of yellow and olive tones, cobbled together with an Erector Set (though still fashioned from clay), and topped with the tiniest lid imaginable. He had another piece in the show, smaller and more neon green in tone, which strongly resembled a Rube Goldberg machine.

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J. Todd Allison's "Conversations from the Satellites" Exhibit at G Gallery is Otherworldly

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of G Gallery
Harnessing the Lure
There is an argument that the qualities attributed to schizophrenia - the inability to filter out irrelevant information - may be beneficial for creativity, allowing the individual to see connections others may not notice.

J. Todd Allison, drawing inspiration from his father's struggle with this disease, has unleashed a futuristic, scientific and fantastic world in his "Conversations from the Satellites" exhibit on display at G Gallery. His drive to channel his father's visions into otherworldly depictions drove him to produce these works in just 2.5 months.


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"Masks, Monsters and Monoliths" Celebrates Art and Recycling

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of Archway Gallery
Wide Eyed by Sherry Tseng Hill

A viewer can't help but smile upon entering Archway Gallery for the "Masks, Monsters and Monoliths" exhibit and being greeted by Jim Adams' Monster Family. Dad leads the charge, mom brings up the year, with four monster children in between. Ranging in height from 28.5" to 42.5", the five pieces of steel sculpture can be arranged and rearranged at will; the characters are full of motion and life - some reticent, some dancing ahead, all hungry and talking - with broken, snaggled teeth, bulging eyeballs and long legs atop chicken feet.

This sculptor's gift is to transform junk, often gnarly, pitted and twisted, and let the piece tell him what it wants to be. This particular series consists of reclaimed pipe and rail track hardware, brought to life through heat and fire.

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The Noh Masks Exhibit at the Asia Society May Give You Goose-bumps

Categories: Visual Arts

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Courtesy of Kelly Sutherlin McLeod and Steve McLeod Collection
Zo-onna by Bidou Yamaguchi
Noh masks? No way. Not interested even a little bit. Or so I thought, which is why I put off for weeks going to see "Traditions Transfigured: The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi" at Asia Society Texas Center. Boy, was I wrong.

Finally, on a cold, rainy post-Christmas Saturday, when all the galleries I'd planned to visit had Closed For The Holidays signs taped to their doors (why, I wonder, had they not bothered to post the closing announcements on their websites?), I had a couple of gallery-going hours to kill and no galleries to kill them in, so I decided at last to check out the Noh exhibit. It turned out that I was interested a lot. "Traditions Transfigured" was about the only goose-bump gallery visit I had all year.

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"Line: Making the Mark" at the MFAH Gives You Something to Figure Out

Categories: Visual Arts

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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, purchased funded by the Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in honor of Mr. Alvin S. Romansky. ©2015 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York
Josef Albers, Segments, 1934, linoleum cut on Japanese paper, edition 7/35
'Line: Making the Mark," which opened last week at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and runs through March 22, is a show of prints and drawings about making marks in the modern art era -- roughly the past 80 years -- the marks in evidence being lines.

If this sounds like a circular description, well, it is. And it's a reflection of my quandary in approaching the show. In large part it's a show that eludes me. Which makes it the best kind of show for me to see.

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Julon Pinkston's "Nailed" Is a Disappointment

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of the artist and Tommy Zoya Gallery
Constructing a Memory IIby Julon Pinkston Photo courtesy of the artist and Tommy Zoya Gallery
Sometimes an artist is inspired to proceed in a certain direction, but the direction to a viewer may seem the opposite - uninspired.

This is the case with Julon Pinkston's solo show, "Nailed" at Zoya Tommy Gallery. There are two very different approaches shown, though both feature nails. As one enters the intimate gallery, there is a work titled The Westmont Event, then The Westmont Event 2, then The Westmont Event 3, then The Westmont Event 4. They have varying compositions, but all are acrylic paint on nails on a charred wood panel, 2 feet by 2 feet. or larger. There is a fifth similar work, Tumbleweed Tornado Fire.


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"Urban Asia: Kirk Pedersen" Examines Urban Japan, Old and New

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of the artist
A haunting cityscape, Night Rain, Dalian, by Kirk Pedersen
The population shift of Asians toward large cities has captured the imagination of Kirk Pedersen, and he in turn has captured its complexity in a series of photographs and photographic montages on display at the Asia Society.

Rudyard Kipling's dictum "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet" has consistently been eroded since Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1853 opened up trade with Japan through "gunboat diplomacy", according to U. S. Naval records. But, while there are tacit references to East and West, Pedersen has really centered on Urban Asia today vs. Urban Asia of yesteryear.

They photographs indicate both urban decay and the construction of residential units in buildings so high they would have seemed impossible a few years ago. There is an impersonal element to many of the photographs, as we see architecture, but no humanity.


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