Holiday-themed entertainments and shows may reign at this time of year. But if you’re looking for a little visual respite, here are some some recommended recently opened gallery exhibits.
"Contamination/Pollination: New Work by Elizabeth McDonald."
In a smart and beguiling solo exhibit, Austin artist Elizabeth McDonald explores the human hive and all its complexities, contradictions and ambiguities. Her elegant grouping of paintings, video and sculptures made of unusual material — chemical resistant rubber gloves, a hunk of sulfur, reused petroleum-based wax, honey jars — cleverly draws an analogy between human behavior and bee behavior. Sly references mix notions of colony collapse disorder, nuclear disaster and contagious viral epidemics into an intriguing multimedia visual symphony that probes the idea of human hiveness. Gallery hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Exhibit continues through Jan. 10. Pump Project Gallery, 702 Shady Lane. www.pumpproject.org
"Fragments of Paradise: Luis Moro." Spanish artist Luis Moro uses a combination of computer graphics and paintings to examine the microcosms of small winged insects and anthropoids. Rendering the tiny creatures in an enormous scale, Moro reveals the intricate drama and details that we usually can’t see. Gallery hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ThursdaysSaturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Exhibit continues through Jan. 4. Grayduck Gallery. 2216 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-826-5334. www.grayduckgallery.com
"Joyce Howell." Forget any notion of calm bucolic landscapes. Painter Joyce Howell lives on the Colorado River in Kingsland, Texas. And with an astute eye, Howell finds a riot of ever-changing color, texture, pattern and movement even in the most pastoral moments of the natural surroundings near her home. Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Continues through Dec. 23. Wally Workman Gallery, 1202 W. Sixth St. Free. 512-472-7428. www.wallyworkmangallery.com.
"Collective Chemistry." Davis Gallery gathers up its artists for a group show of their new works. Lisa Beaman is among those whose work is on display. And Beaman’s background as a quilter shows in her variegated collages that celebrate line, color, form and composition. Opening reception: 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Exhibit continues through Jan. 10. Davis Gallery, 837 W. Twelfth St. Free. 51-477-4929. www.davisgalleryaustin.com