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Arts / Museums

Betting on Donald Baechler

Cool Cones, a Bronze Phone and More at McClain Gallery

BY Catherine D. Anspon // 05.05.15

Donald Baechler‘s good-humored collages, bronzes and canvases — now on view at McClain Gallery — may not be political commentary, but their shorthand codex of symbols creates a sense of whimsy along the lines of a contemporary Miró or Klee. The New York-based mid-career artist serves up a refreshing anecdote to today’s searing headlines via a delightful litany of characters and iconography, which are paired (especially in the case of the works on paper) with background imagery that gradually unfolds upon attentive viewing.

This second-generation Pop master may not be breaking new ground, but he’s one of the best at creating memorable images with a sense of droll effortlessness while still mining drama within each work, provided by a primary image and the push/pull of its accompanying background.

Also worth a close examination are the artist’s bronzes. With their intriguingly worked-over surfaces, they exemplify his prowess in that sculptural medium.

Donald Baechler, “The Planet of Memory,” at McClain Gallery, Houston, through June 13.

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