Texas Visions of an Earlier Time: An Exhibit Worth Taking Your Time Over

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of William Reaves Fine Art
Robert Wood is justifiably famous for his bluebonnet paintings, and strong composition
In this very large exhibition, 57 works of early Texas art, there are two paintings that should be seen, for historical reasons. One is On Texas Waters: USS Constitution; this wooden-hulled, three-masted frigate won many victories in the War of 1812, and became much-loved, nick-named "Old Ironsides" by Oliver Wendell Holmes. It went on a three-year tour from 1931 to 1934, and was painted by Paul R. Schumann in 1932 as it appeared in full sail in Galveston Bay. It anchors the exhibition with a specific moment in local history.

The second is a 1936 portrait, 40 inches by 28 inches, by Emma Richardson Cherry of her son-in-law, titled Major Reid. It shows him to be handsome, in uniform, and its warm tan tones here posit the glamor of war, ignoring for a moment the agony in the trenches. The painting resonates with love, almost palpable, alive after all these years.


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The Mystifying Element to Larry Bell's Paintings

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of the artist and the gallery
Larry Bell's mixed media AAAAA 98 dominates the Nicole Longnecker Gallery
There is a mystifying element to Larry Bell's paintings - distance seems to add further enchantment. Up too close, I felt I was missing the forest for the trees. Nicole Longnecker Gallery has wisely hung the wonderful AAAAA98 at the furthest reach, so it dominates from afar.

I liked it enormously, without being able to determine why. It has a grey fish at the top, colorful vertical slivers, definitely a 3-dimensional feel, with perspective of depth. It reminded me both of the 1939 NYC World's Fair, and of an Oriental sedan chair, so I decided just to savor the mystery.

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adds a highly attractive salmon color, and has some representational clues, a central roll-up window-shade, some grey fabric at the right and bottom, and a glimpse of an alien sunrise or sunset. Somehow, I sensed that Larry Bell had been there, and seen it.


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Christopher St. Leger's "Mass and Void" Exhibits Amazing Watercolors

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of the artist and Hooks-Epstein Galleries
A watercolor shows the architectural strength of Christopher St. Leger

The immediate impression on seeing the amazing watercolors by Christopher St. Leger is that this artist loves architecture, cities, and watercolors, and uses his talents to create vistas of shimmering beauty. This is a large and impressive exhibition, so a viewer in immersed immediately, and surrounded, by cityscapes so enticing as to make choosing which to see first a challenging assignment.

St. Leger's artist statement in part reads "... the delicate spilling of watercolor on concrete isn't a gesture of expressionism -- it's human vulnerability." There is a remarkable feeling that St. Leger is sharing his heart as well as his artistry.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Fast Charging, Brilliant Screen Display and Fun for People Who Like to Handwrite Notes

Categories: Visual Arts

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Ready to write the Great American Novel?
Welcome to the fast-charging world of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Being the proud possessor of a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 which has made it possible for me to play Angry Birds on a really big screen anywhere I go (yay!) and to stay in constant touch with my office (well), when our publication got the chance to try out the next generation of the same smart phone it made sense that I try it out.

What made even more sense was to share the assessment duties with my son Tim, a college student who loves all things electronic.

While Tim waxed poetic about 3GB RAM and 32GB of memory and that the "5.7 inch screen looks sharp and vibrant with 2,560 x 1.440 resolution..." I sidestepped the specifics to state at the screen which looked really clear with beautiful, sharp colors -- as good or better than HD TV.


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Earl Staley Tackles a Number of New Approaches in "The Resolution of Doubt"

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of Zoya Tommy Gallery
Wonderer by Earl Staley
Earl Staley is not only a prolific artist, he is also a most inventive one, either re-inventing himself or tackling new approaches in his art, exhibition by exhibition.

His recent showing at Jung Center, "Reconstructions," combined traditional portrayals of Greco-Roman legends with abstract over-painting to create a wondrous method for showing the evolution of art, and himself, over a 30-year span.

Staley's new exhibition at Zoya Tommy Contemporary, titled "The Resolution of Doubt", is totally different, and includes a number of approaches within the same showing. His Wonderer suggests perhaps the chaos present as the physical world was formed, a vertical sliver of red controls the center, against a background of irregular blues and dark reds, while a pale green grape-shaped blob seems to have formed into something more definite. It is mysterious, and intriguing.


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"Evidence" Shows Off a Variety of Work With Wit at d.m. allison gallery

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of d. m. allison gallery
Allurement dominates with its colorful beauty
The d. m. allison gallery presents both emerging and established artists, and manages to exhibit a great number of works, somehow attractively arranged, in its fairly intimate space. Wit is often in play, as well as innovative approaches.

What is truly beautiful can be decorative as well, and can rise to the level of stunning art. Such is the case in this group show entitled "Evidence" with Allurement, by Erika Pochybova-Johnson. It is a portrait of a peacock, head turned, perhaps to admire its own magnificent multi-colored train. The colors are vibrant, gripping, and difficult to wrench one's eyes from - no wonder the peacock is straining to see.


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HJ BOTT's "Scribble Morphings": A Serious Artist With a Sense of Humor

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of Anya Tish Gallery
Artisanal Redistricting by HJ Botts
The scribbles over these acrylic on canvas paintings document that HJ Bott has a sense of humor, and refuses to take himself too solemnly, though this in no way questions his seriousness as an artist.

The press release undermines the light-hearted tone, going into considerable detail in claiming that "the "24 Basic Scribbles" [are] the inherent, fundamental marks that are consistently found in the drawings of children, the building blocks that ultimately make up all written and visual languages across every culture." A strong claim indeed, but I have zero interest in luring you into that briar patch, and will deal with these talented paintings on their own visual merits.


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Yamatane: Yusuke Asai Created a Massive Mural out of Local Soil

Categories: Visual Arts

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Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
Jungle mountains against a spotted sky.
A remarkable installation by Japanese artist Yusuke Asai painted entirely with earth found around Houston -- 27 different colors -- is now on view at Rice Gallery. The mural dominates the exhibition room, rising from floor to ceiling, sweeping to three walls and even spilling onto the floor, so huge, so vast as to seem uncontrollable.

Rice University students gathered the colors from 11 different sites, making this the widest spectrum of colors representing a specific place that Asai has ever used. Asai calls dirt a "living medium." He has named the installation "-Yamatane," Japanese for "mountain seed."

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Danny Rolph's "Paradiso" Exhibit Offers a Festival of Color

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of Barbara Davis Gallery
Dragster 5by Danny Rolph captures the high level velocity of his work
Danny Rolph offers us a hint of the future to come, in nine major paintings, acrylic on canvas, all completed this year or last. It is a utopian future, airy, bright, with open spaces, colorful, and filled with vibrant energy.

"Paradiso" might have been called Dragster as well, as there are three paintings - Dragster 2, Dragster 4 and Dragster 5 - that reveal Rolph's fondness for high velocity. Dragster 5 may be the most powerful in the exhibition, dazzling with vivid colors. Luscious red lips reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe entice at bottom left, suggesting sensuality, or perhaps the reward for a victory. Despite this, I sensed the existence of a laboratory, testing the frontiers of scientific technology. Either way, it is a delicious ferment.


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When Wood Met Design: LeeAnn Gorman and Paula Haymond

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of Archway Gallery
Wooden sculptures by Paula Haymond are shown in front of an acrylic painting by LeeAnn Gorman
Painter LeeAnn Gorman met sculptor Paula Haymond at the Archway Gallery, and they formed a friendship which has now led to a collaboration.

In the current show, each artist has solo pieces, but also shown are works where their efforts are collaborative.

The artists exchanged ideas as well as efforts, and Gorman's use of mapping as a theme has been incorporated by Haymond, even in her solo pieces. Gorman's paintings use acrylic on canvas, and resemble is some ways the kind of map one might see of an underground subway system in London or New York.


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