Capsule Reviews

Jesse Meraz Wonderland and Jason Villegas: Growth Hormone Mutation Makeover Meraz and Villegas are archaeologists of the present. They disinter pretty plastic detritus from the morass of American popular culture--those objects that defy willy-nilly the laws of entropy. Meraz leaves one paradigm of representation in the wake of another: painting in two dimensions on a square canvas for bright new thundering forms. He makes glitter paintings in acrylic and gel mounted on wood, painting on both the front and back of wooden boards shaped like mandorlas and ye olde family crests. The fluorescent, almost-opaque surfaces of the front side of his panels yield to the play of bright color on the back, color that is subtly reflected in the shadow between the hung painting and wall. With a BFA in sculpture from the University of Houston, Villegas' work enters the realm of three dimensions more forthrightly than Meraz's. This is not to say that Villegas does not paint. Does he paint...and a whole lot more! "Cyborg Christian With Botched Facelift" is a sculptural bust in cardboard and tape mounted on the wall. On the floor beneath it is the hapless fallen visage of a once full-faced and newly prettified Christian. In "Ignorant Categorization 1" and "Ignorant Categorization 2," Villegas fabricates makeshift mosaics out of small fabric squares with bits of paper sewn on them. Meraz and Villegas create super-wack art representative of a nerdified Super Fly subculture. And Plush is there to host the happening. This is a with-it joint tucked away downtown across from one of the most beautiful if not tumbledown buildings in the city--the Y-shaped midcentury modern Dallas Grand Hotel designed by William B. Tabler in 1956. Let's hope that Plush doesn't get priced out by the gentrification of this neighborhood of which it is surely the catalyst. Through February 19 at Plush, 1927 Commerce St., 214-498-5423. (Charissa N. Terranova)