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On View 

Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions.

Carmen Ruiz-Davila: Everywhere and Here -- Sex is the key to decoding Carmen Ruiz-Davila's large-scale, theatrical installations. What at first appears cryptic and cartoonish becomes crystal clear with the help of the backstory posted on the wall next to each piece. The flamboyant "Juana la Loca (Juana the Crazy)" features a black-and-white-tiled floor and giant castanets painted red with automotive paint and decorated with orange flames. Juana la Loca was a 15th-century Spanish queen who supposedly went mad because of her husband's sexual indiscretions. The bright red of this inflamed piece exudes the passion of the tale, while the castanets themselves recall a classic feminine symbol: the charming Spanish flamenco dancer. "La Mysterieuse Chambre Chinoise de Madame Wallis Simpson (The Mysterious Chinese Room of Madame Wallis Simpson)," a parody of Asian massage houses, is another feast for the eyes: A giant white spoon takes on the role of a Jacuzzi bath, complete with bubbling water. Ornate wallpaper and small figurines give the setup an exotic flair. Looking into these installations is like embarking on a twisted adventure through the artist's fertile imagination. Through August 8 at MOCA, 8501 Carnegie Ave., 216-421-8671. -- Nadia Michel

Cleveland Institute of Art Student Summer Show -- --From glasswork to digital graphics, abstract minimalism to what might be called "reality art," this show runs the gamut. But the highlight undoubtedly is photography. Brendan Beecy's Untitled Series digital prints are lit from behind, making the images of feet, arms, and faces seem to come to life. Smaller but no less intriguing is Lauren Gutierrez's Miss January: The American Burka Collection. The model, in a flesh-toned body stocking and a bleached-blond wig, poses in a perfect '70s pinup style. Maybe it's the baby-bottle nipples masquerading as the real thing, or the exaggerated red lips and garish makeup, but the effect is convincing at first glance and hilarious upon a second look. Through July 30 at the Cleveland Institute of Art's Reinberger Galleries, 11141 East Blvd., 216-421-7407. -- Michel

Garry Fabian Miller Photographs -- Is it really a photograph, if a camera is not involved? Surprisingly, yes. British photographer Garry Fabian Miller's dye-destruction prints rely on a photographic technique employed in the 19th century, before the camera was invented. In an antiquated procedure, Miller passes light through filters and cylinders of colored water onto prepared paper. The effect is fantastic. Minimal forms infused with glowing white light radiate from the paper, much as Mark Rothko's color-field forms radiated from their canvases in the 1950s and '60s. Although less warm than Rothko's paintings, the prints are captivating; the viewer is drawn in by the entrancing light, as if trying to see into the center of the sun. Through July 22 at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7340. -- Tami Miller

Kari Russell-Pool -- Russell-Pool's colorful, lace-like glass sculptures look as if they might easily dissolve in the mouth. Sorbet-colored works with names such as "Raspberry Cup" and "Cinnamon Peach" feature tiny, intricate flowers, leaves, and fruits formed by heating pencil-sized rods of glass and weaving them with tweezers. The pieces in her Teapot series may be far from functional, with fragile, flowery walls, but the fantastical vessels nonetheless convey the sensual pleasure of tea. "Pink Vessel with Birds" and "Robin Trophy" are two of four collaborative works that include a bird nestled among the flowers or perched in place of a stem on a purely ornamental vase. Despite their complexity, all 14 pieces on display are light, inspired by and evocative of summer. Kari Russell-Pool's signature style is pretty and delicate, a standout in the world of glass. Also, don't miss the gallery's extensive collection of glasswork by other artists. Through June 20 at Thomas R. Riley Galleries, 2026 Murray Hill Rd., 216-421-1445. -- Michel

Kelly McLane: My Blue-Green Algae -- Nature's raw power is beautifully rendered in McLane's large-scale graphite-and-acrylic paintings. "Soon on Me," placed at the entrance to a small room dedicated to her work, is the catalyst in a narrative that develops through four images. A tsunami soars over a city, tearing down a bridge in its furor. "Survivor" depicts a lone house drifting, attached to the mainland by cables and afloat thanks to numerous rubber tires strewn about its structure. McLane's watered-down aquas and transparent oranges give the devastation a lightness, perhaps indicating admiration for the planet's ability to transform. As the show's title suggests, the artist is interested in blue-green algae (aka cyanobacteria), believed to have been among the world's first living organisms. Six small figurative graphite drawings show another facet of McLane's original and finely executed vision. "You Pissed Your Pants" and "Hunting Season," for example, showcase emotionally defining moments in children's lives. Through August 22 at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7340. -- Michel

Modern American Masters: Highlights From the Gill and Tommy LiPuma Collection -- Native Clevelander Tommy LiPuma's eye for art rivals his ear for music. Nominated for 30 Grammys, the renowned producer also cultivated an in-depth knowledge of modern American art, his passion for which is reflected in the 24 works on display. It's an overview of what LiPuma considers to be the best by American modernists from the early 20th century. Indeed, paintings by Marsden Hartley, Arnold Friedman, Arthur Dove, John Marin, and John Graham -- all underappreciated gems -- are perfect examples of how the use of pure, luminous color and intense texture revolutionized the art world and spawned abstract expressionism. A fine initiation to underexposed American talent, the show also highlights the pleasure art can provide for people from all walks of life. Also on view, Burchfield to Schreckengost: Cleveland Art of the Jazz Age (through July 18), a celebration of rarely seen works by other Clevelanders who give the city a good name. Though July 28 at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350. -- Michel

The Original Art of Brian Jones -- Jones's influences seem to include a heavy dose of impressionism, but surrealism and abstractionism make their way into some of the 60 original pieces as well. His Jazz series, including "Jazz in the Street" and "Playing as One," features faceless musicians at work, in muted and somewhat generic depictions of the genre that would make ideal marketing material for any given jazz festival. At the other end of the spectrum are pieces like Breakfast of Champions -- luminous, decorative still lifes. Jones has no formal training and has only been painting for five years, but he commands the different styles admirably. He also produces prints of his most successful pieces, on canvas or paper (starting at $20), which he embellishes with texture and paint. The variety in his work promises to satisfy practically every taste and budget. Through September 30 at Cultura Gallery, 2037 Murray Hill Rd., 440-724-7882. -- Michel

SubURBAN -- "Sub," in this context, is defined as inferior, and "urban" as cultivated. The artists have taken tame old paintings and common objects, and messed with them in an attempt to make them hip. A "street" style pervades the collection: Neon colors and paint drippings make most of the works unmistakably urban. Deth P. Sun's "Untitled" begins with a yellowed painting of a forest scene, circa 1956, and adds a Japanimation-style blue cat and other cartoonish figures. Tes-One's "Extension," a graffiti-inspired stenciled orange face layered onto a painting of a rowboat adrift on a river, is a particularly well-executed transformation; the two layers really mesh. Through June 12 at 1300 Gallery, 1300 W. 78th St., 281-4895. -- Michel

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