houston

Al Souza

Moody Gallery

AL SOUZA'S EXTRAVAGANT “paintings” are so visually disruptive they demand to be stared at long and hard—that is, if you can manage to fix your gaze on them at all. Stand before these works, composed of thousands of layered jigsaw-puzzle pieces, loose and in semi-completed chunks, and the whole immediate environment seems in flux; the paintings appear to slide back and forth, creating a vaguely feverish sensation. The eye darts from quaint New England barns, breezy tropical palms, and huge slices of cheese-oozing pizza to Victorian playing cards, rainbow Popsicles, Troll dolls, Ukrainian eggs, and swathes of candy corn. (Souza's imagery depends largely on chance: He buys the puzzles in thrift shops and garage sales and uses the completed sections that were returned to the box intact by the previous owner.) The paintings' peculiar interminglings evoke Surrealism and appropriation,

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