Capsule Reviews

Frank Stella: Painting in Three Dimensions For what Frank Stella's large and raucous sculpture from the 1980s lacks in formal triumph, it makes up for in revealing the complexity of the artist's rocky road of development. Having made seminal paintings in the late '50s and an array of more successfully bombastic sculpture in the late '90s, Stella shows that losing one's creative mojo is not the end of the world--it can return just as easily as it departed. Exhibited in the basement gallery of the Nasher, the jauntily colored tangles of aluminum and fiberglass are the results of Stella's continued transfiguration of the Greenbergian dictum on modernism and medium specificity. With its brightly colored multidimensional layers of steel bolted together and hung on the wall, "Diepholz II" (1982) hovers somewhere between painting and sculpture. The problem is not so much with the equivocation of the piece but rather with its cup-runneth-over bluster. It's too colorful, unbalanced and comes across as intellectually vapid. Far different from the sculpture are the prints, the "Sinjerli Variations" (1977). Containing color diffused by white lines, the offset circles of these prints are much more convincing than the screaming and jagged forms of the painting-cum-sculpture that similarly hang on the walls. Through April 3 at the Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St., 214-922-1200. Reviewed March 10. (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. Sharon Engelstein and Paul Fleming pay homage to the extra-terrestrial. Engelstein's small and bulbous plastic creatures--"Twins," "Buster," "Bumbry" and "Moe"--offer a family genealogy of the Michelin Man in three-dimensional form. With "Field," Fleming has scattered on the floor white and green lunar geodes made from gypsum and resin. 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.)