Capsule Reviews

Bedtime Stories and Other Night Terrors Tom Sale, Texas' Liberace of the art world, has graced the city with a parade of wonderment. Sale transforms cast-off books and suitcases into scenes of bizarre allure. Their obsolescence only encourages his imagination. Carving and installing miniature landscapes of biblical tales gone awry, Sale makes sculptural assemblages from detritus. Through a little oval frame on the front of a brown leather carrying case one sees an ant sitting before a mirror. Titled "Mant," the small box tells a tale of evolutionary genealogy. In our reflection we see our insect cousin, the ant. "The Tapeworm Weaver" shows a strung-out, glassy-eyed grandmother sucking up twirls and tangles of black wiry rope. The works bear a certain patina of time and use that comes from the almost worn-out material of the boxes and books. Yet there's no nostalgia here. Through sleight-of-hand placement of colorful plastic tchotchkes--cows, dinosaurs, dogs, little girls, missiles, etc. --old useless stuff comes to life. Through May 8 at Gray Matters Gallery, 113 N. Haskell Ave., 214-824-7108. Reviewed this week. (Charissa N. Terranova)

Twang: Contemporary Sculpture From Texas A motley mix of stuff, Twang is certain to rile your standing aesthetic, shake your sense of Texas art and hustle you into the realm of the local absurd. It is a many-headed demonstration of the latest incarnation of "sculpture." Jessica Halonen and Michael Powers deploy the trope of verisimilitude in the gallery. Halonen's painted aluminum faux paper airplanes, "Flutter" (2004), lie harum-scarum on the floor, linking the two rooms of the gallery space. Powers plays on the connection between voyeurism and bodily fluid at the gym. His "Perspiration Destination" (2005), a three-dimensional, full-size slice of gym life replete with orange water coolers and ersatz dirty towels, is installed mid-wall in the second room. And then there are those artists, such as Franco Mondini-Ruiz, who see sculptural form everywhere in the walkaday world around them. Reminiscent of Claes Oldenburg's "Mouse Museum" (1965-'77), Mondini-Ruiz has amassed sundry things, from brownies to a cup of coffee, all of which are brown. With this piece, "Sell Me Something Brown" (2004), the artist wears his object fetish on his shoulder. Twang melds the banal with the fantastic. You'll feel more like you're strolling the aisles of a surreal Wal-Mart than perusing art in a gallery. Through April 9 at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave., 214-953-1212. Reviewed March 24. (C.T.)