A roundup of new art exhibits
A new year brings a new round of gallery exhibits ripe for exploring this weekend. Here's a select few. And be sure to look at our complete art exhibit listings on Page 17.
'Evidence of Houdini's Return'
Abstraction in art has been around for a long time. And yet each generation of artists seems to rediscover it for themselves, nudging the boundaries of what abstraction can mean and how it can be visually communicated.
In a new group show, seven artists working internationally — Sterling Allen, Facundo Argañaraz, Strauss Bourque LaFrance, Katja Mater, Christopher Samuels, Justin Swinburne and J. Parker Valentine — test those boundaries with painting, photography, sculpture, video, drawing and collage.
Sometimes provocative, sometimes cerebral, the work in "Evidence of Houdini's Return" doesn't lose sight of the historical path of abstraction while also reconsidering what it can mean our fractionalized, global world.
Gallery hours: noon to 11 p.m. Wednesdays, noon to 9 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Exhibit continues through March 4. Arthouse at the Jones Center, 700 Congress Ave. Free. www.arthousetexas.org.
Storytelling is a slippery thing. Ditto with perception.
In different yet complementary ways, artists Paul Beck, Allen Brewer and Pat Snow play with the representation and storytelling in drawings and paintings, sometimes revealing much, sometimes just hinting.
Gallery hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Exhibit continues through Feb. 19. Grayduck Gallery, 608 W. Monroe St. Free. www.grayduckgallery.com.
'Fresh Paintings: Jennifer Harrison'
Sometimes, it's the details left out of a painting that prove more interesting than those depicted.
Nova Scotia artist Jennifer Harrison reduces the maritime streetscapes of her Canadian environs to their most basic, using thick layers of paint to render houses, garages and sheds to their simplest and almost primitive forms.
What remains are the essential elements of a domestic structure: windows, doors, porches, roofs, trim. And people, vehicles, trees and shrubbery are erased from Harrison's scenes.
Instead, snow acts as monochromatic foundation. Skies are a flat blue. Foreground and background are flattened. The result is paintings both sweet and haunting.
Opening reception: 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Gallery hours: Exhibit continues through Feb. 26. Yard Dog Art Gallery, 1510 S. Congress Ave. Free. www.yarddog.com
'The Development of Actuality: Robert Jackson Harrington'
Austin artist Robert Jackson Harringtom makes spectacularly complex contraptions out of electrical cords, lumber, hardware, flashlights, beer coolers, blue plastic tarps, giant S-hooks, padlocks, pulleys, clamps and just about anything else you can buy at a home improvement store.
But here's the catch: Harrington's Rube Goldberg-esque machines don't actually do anything nor do they perform any function even though they look like they should.
Harrington will transform the small warehouse at Co-Lab Space with a site-specific installation.
It's the possibility of what could be — the idealized thing — that fascinates the artist, not the actual thing itself.
"The viewers' projected ideas of what my work can be or what it does is far more interesting than the actual objects themselves," Harrington notes in a statement.
Opening 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Exhibit continues through Jan. 28; viewing by appointment. Co-Lab Space, 611 Allen St. Free. www.colabspace.org