The best of Demetrius Oliver's photos, Seminole (in which he drapes bacon over his head) is growing on me, it's so tactile. The pencil studded Afro, and the toy boxcars pressed into his face are growing even dimmer the third time I've seen them.
I watched Serena Lin Bush's Hang, a video of hands holding a bar, for a good few minutes, waiting for the inevitable drop, until the tension was destroyed by a slight, but noticeable, cut that told me the piece was a loop, and I was waiting for nothing. Her Sleepers, projected videos of prone figures didn't move often enough. In the clutter of a complicated group show, I didn't wait for them.
Soody Sharifi's photographs of cross-cultural youth are at their best when they're the most personal- the girl painting her fingernails was better than the swimming pool.
The best thing about Zach Moser's Kool-aid conspiracy theory piece was the surprising cherry red liquid spurting from a familiar institutional water cooler. I tasted it anyway. Awful. Either the cooler is rusty inside, or Kool-aid always tastes like radiator water, I can't recall, it's been so long since I refused to drink the stuff in preschool. The vaguely political paranoia, liking Kool-aid, corporate culture and government is weak. Even knowing the large, pitcher-shaped tank outside the gallery was part of the piece, I had a hard time connecting the two.
The Art Guys Plywood is great. Take something dumb, and make it even dumber by repeating it every artistic genre. The piece, a 4×8 sheet of 3/4" BC fir supported on two sawhorses is flanked by a maquette of same, a c-print, an inkjet print, a drawing, and a framed digital video. Souvenirs were available at the opening.
Dan Havel and Dean Ruck's Trespass 4416 is a big urn made of appealing chunks of old wood. Nice wood, but arid sculpture.
Will Michaels' fake war photos work better in a group show than alone. Taken as the straight vintage war photos they mimic, they seem curiously incongruous next to Michael McKean's swatch of typical Michael McKeanery; since they don't fit, you're more likely to examine them closely and get it.
I didn't like Rotem Balva's car parking video. I came in at the beginning, while the cars were circling around; the moment the gold car began backing towards the too-narrow parking space, the rest was entirely predictable. Interior shots of the woman driving the car were poorly acted; she had the carefully expressionless expression people affect in art videos. Knowing Balva to be from Israel, I took it as a metaphor for Israeli foreign policy, and it seemed bitter and better. But there was nothing in the video to clue me in to that interpretation. It could have been titled Israeli Parking, not Rear Reverse Parking, if that was her intention. Why be shy?
All in all, it was a show with a lot of good stuff in it, and a lot of different good stuff, and most of the artists are still working in Houston. Way to go, Artadia!