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Arts / Museums

Mandalas, Buddhas, Stars and Saturday Night Specials

BY Catherine D. Anspon // 03.18.15
Bill Armstrong
Bill Armstrong’s “Mandala 401,” not dated, at HCP, suggests a planetary encounter. Images courtesy of the artist and Robischon Gallery, Denver.

Begin at Houston Center for Photography, where NY-based Bill Armstrong‘s series of mandalas and Buddhas emit a captivating glow. A master of color photography, where the blur is emphasized, Armstrong’s seemingly simple work is imbued with a resonance that is impossible to ignore. Previous subjects in his ongoing “Infinity” series have ranged from skulls to Renaissance drawings, but the Buddhas and mandalas seem most fitting for our time (through April 26).

At the Isabella Courts corridor, Devin Borden Gallery‘s doubleheader features watch-list Houston painter Christopher Cascio in an impressive new series of canvases. The starring work is the unforgettable Saturday Night Specials. Who can look away? But we doubt this will ever be the poster for the NRA … In contrast to Cascio’s bold paintings, Sharon Engelstein‘s droll little ink-on-paper drawings (and one sculpture) suggest commentary on the stars and distant galaxies. Rendered in luminous washes of color, these works are individualistic, smart, fresh and optimistic. The artist’s daughter, Joy Parazette, provided a title for the show— one that perfectly matches its open-ended buoyancy: “What Ever You Think of Is True.” (Both artists on view through April 9.)

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