The Great American Landscape Presents Striking Pictures From Several Artists at Meredith Long & Company

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo by Meredith Long & Company
A striking painting, "In and Out of Clouds" by William Anzalone, in the exhibition The Great American Landscape.
The Great American Landscape, from Meredith Long & Company, features the work of Larry Horowitz, but the paintings by William Anzalone capture the imagination as well, and a number of artists in this group show manage to stand out with a single painting.

Michael Coleman's "Sneaky Approach" is a fascinating tableau as a fox hides behind some shrubbery near a river stream, while two birds (plovers?) wade upstream, creating a sense of the suspense before the pounce. A number of black birds are flying overhear, while a predator hawk soars above them, an echo of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "nature red in tooth and claw".

The light on vegetation holds the eye, adding a calmness that is vividness itself.
Al Barnes "Ghosting" presents a two-masted sailboat, towing a small barge. while seagulls circle overhead. The ship's bowsprit juts out ahead, holding the additional forward sail, and leading the way like a guide. Trees and an interesting sky complete the maritime picture.

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Tradition and Translation: Extension of Nature Presents an Oasis of Tranquility in Downtown Houston

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of the artist and the Hooks-Epstein Galleries
"Sun Dial" by Mari Omori, created entirely with the envelopes tea bags come in.
In the lobby of the 35-story Total Plaza office building in downtown Houston lies an oasis of tranquility, as two Japanese artists share an exhibition of consummate subtlety and artistry entitled Tradition and Translation: Extension of Nature.
At the risk of being politically incorrect with emphasis on gender, one artist is female, Mari Omori, and her work embodies the fragile sensibility and sensitivity of the female principle. One artist is male, Masaru Takiguchi, and his sculptures embody the strength and virility of the male principle. The analogy falls apart quickly enough, however, as Omori's fragile works are also powerful, and Takiguchi's tough-minded sculptures, especially the ones in wood, show a sensitivity in design that is remarkable.

Omori has chosen here to use tea bags, or tea bag packaging, as her central medium, though they are used so well that the casual viewer would never know it. Her large "Sun Dial" is a circular, quiet extravaganza that is richly textured, and has a spiraling effect, with the outer edges seemingly serrated. It is slightly three-dimensional, and, though inanimate, has a pulsing life that seems to fill the gallery. To my amazement, it is composed entirely of what must be hundreds if not thousands of the envelopes that tea bags come in, a surprising fact that can be verified, if one stands to one side, by visually observing a few envelopes where the print on the backs becomes visible.

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UPDATED:Bob Schneider: We Invented Love Offers Some Powerful Images at d.m. allison gallery

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of d.m. allison gallery
A complex and witty sculpture by Bob Schneider
The exhibition has been extended through July 21.

We were wondering who to blame for love, the fierce emotion that grabs us by the throat and tosses us about like a shuttlecock in a windstorm, and now the very intellectual artist Bob Schneider has come clean, and admitted it. And has the work to document it at the intimate d. m. allison gallery.

Schneider as an artist is torn in different directions. Part of him wants to teach or intrigue us with his ideas, often brilliant, no matter what they images look like. Part of him wants to cater to his keen visual sense. And part wants to demonstrate his skilled ultra-craftmanship in working with the intaglio process, incising directly onto steel plates.

The title of his exhibition, We Invented Love, comes from his recently published book of poetry and art collages: "We invented love somehow, and without mercy or instruction, half a head coming out of the water in the night." It is a powerful image - I thought immediately of the iconic Halle Berry, rising from the sea in the James Bond flick Die Another Day - perhaps you remember it, as well.


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Lorena Morales: The Space Within Offers Art Accompanied by Gerald Cedillo's Poems

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of the artist and Galeria Regina.
One of a series of "Chromospheres" by Lorena Morales at Galeria Regina.
The intimate Galeria Regina has an unusual exhibition, The Space Within, consisting of the visual art of Venezuelan born artist Lorena Morales, with each work accompanied by a poem by Houston's own Gerald Cedillo.

Morales uses vivid colors on Plexiglas, often in geometric patterns, to create interest and tension. Her works here feature a series of works of stripes in varying colors, and also a series of works that center on circles to capture the eye. The stripes are often interwoven, to create the sense of fabric, and the colors of the stripes can either contrast or segue into related tones.

Works in the circles series are called "Chromospheres", and they tend to dominate the gallery space, as their vividness calls out to the viewer, and their concentric energy provides a sense of commanding power.

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Well-Designed Steamrolled IV: Balance Catches You Off Guard

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of the artist and Gallery M Squared
Deceived: The woodcut "Deceived" by Tera Yoshimura captures a crucial moment in the Garden of Eden.
Art gatherings can take many forms, but few are as dramatic as the annual creation of oversized woodcut prints, this year done at Saint Arnolds Brewery on April 27, 9 to 5, as a two-ton steamroller did the final inking for Steamrolled IV: Balance. The event has been captured on video, for all to enjoy at the current exhibition at Gallery M Squared in the Heights. The exhibition is in conjunction with PrintHouston 2014, a summer-long celebration of original prints, the artists who create them, and the people who collect them.

Rockin' Rollin' Prints selects a theme - this year, it's "Balance" - and 75 artists created woodprints on ¾ inch mdf or wooden boards, from 2x3' to 3x5' in size, the size of the drum of the steamroller. Thirty-four of the prints have been juried into the fourth annual exhibition, sponsored by PrintMatters.


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Texas Ren Fest Brings Back Pocket Dragons Creator Real Musgrave for Its 40th Anniversary Poster

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Photo courtesy of Texas Renaissance Festival
In honor of the 40th anniversary, a Texas Ren Fest poster by Real Musgrave, creator of Pocket Dragons
In order to specially commemorate its 40th anniversary, the Texas Renaissance Festival asked retired artist Real Musgrave, the creator of Pocket Dragons, to draw its poster this year.

Longtime followers of Ren Fest may notice the poster's similarities to the design used in 1982. A retired wizard and a princess sit astride a giant armadillo with the Pocket Dragons walking by their side.

Musgrave, who now lives in Flower Mound, TX, also did the designs for this year's program cover, T-shirts and other collectables that will be on sale during the October/November weekend event in Todd Mission, TX near Pleasantville. And he'll make an appearance during opening weekend, October 11-12 to sign posters and other Renaissance Festival and Pocket Dragon memorabilia that will be on sale inside the festival.

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Jim Nolan's "Apropos of Nothing" Explores His Demon Imp Side

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of Art Palace
A once-attractive painting is impaled by a beer bottle in Jim Nolan's send-up of the art world "Apropos of Nothing" now at Art Palace.
The name Art Palace may suggest royalty but its current exhibition is determinedly lowbrow, in fact, refreshingly so. Jim Nolan is enamored of the plastic flowers found in Dollar Stores, and makes good use of them in this, his second solo show at Art Palace. Nolan can paint beautifully when he wants to - see his "Flower Portrait Pink" - but even here his demon imp has added, unobtrusively, the barcode tag.

More "in your face" is his "ABV#4 - w/ Bottle", as colorful large dots clustered together are pierced by an actual three-dimensional beer bottle, ugly indeed, and that is its point, as Nolan's irreverence is a send-up of an art world that sometimes can take itself too seriously.

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Alongside at Barbara Davis Gallery Offers Domestic and International Art

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of the Barbara Davis Gallery
Snowcanoes by Denmark's Mie Olise, part of the group show Alongside, combines genres for a powerful image that intrigues.

The Barbara Davis Gallery's exhibition of Alongside, a group showing of nine artists, is international indeed, with some Houston artists joined by artists from New York, Sweden, Denmark, and an Israeli-born artist now residing in Providence, RI.

Dominating the entrance room in the sleekly-modern gallery is a semi-rustic painting "Snowcanoes" (acrylic on canvas, 77x87") by Denmark's Mie Olise. It is a mixture of representational and abstract, as the artist's rich imagination balances the white snow with blue ice, and frames the canoes with upright poles that generate a sense of control. It is deeply involving, powerful, and rewarding.

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The Texas Aesthetic VII: Minding the Texas Tradition Shows a Remarkable Variety of Work

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of William Reaves Fine Art
Boogie Woogie Blues - Cotton Harvest is by Laura Lewis, one of 16 Texas artists in a group show through July 12.
Willliam Reaves Fine Art specializes in art by Texas artists who are influenced by and carry on the traditional portrayal of Texas landscapes. This is the seventh year of an annual group show, with 16 Texas artists exhibiting. In The Texas Aesthetic VII: Minding the Texas Tradition the works are contemporary, while still honoring the artists who have gone before them, metaphorically standing on their shoulders.

Though sharing a tradition, as well as geographic residences, the works are remarkably varied. One striking work by Laura Lewis is titled "Boogie Woogie Blues - Cotton Harvest" (32x48") and features a vibrant sunset with the foreground filled with thousands of cotton bolls, some in shadow from the harvesting equipment, some not. The composition is unusual and compelling, using a landscape as a starting point but moving well beyond it into a portrait of light and shadow playing on the cotton plants tinged with richly rewarding blues.


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"Fallen Timber" at New Living Beautifully Reclaims Wood

Categories: Visual Arts

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Stephanie Hamblin, "Untitled"
We all know the old saying, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" What if that tree is taken and turned into something beautiful or functional, then does it make noise? If you are talking about the new exhibition "Fallen Timber," currently on display at the gallery at the Made at New Living workshop, your answer will likely be yes.

The show is a collection of works by various artists who have taken wood from trees that have been destroyed by natural or man-made occurrences and turned them into works of art.

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