Solo shows offer strong lineup of Georgia artists

The holidays are a time for gallery group shows, but you can also find some strong solo exhibitions, including those by the four Georgia artists highlighted here. Please check gallery websites for holiday closings.

Rocio Rodriguez. An exemplar of the serious painter, the Atlanta artist has demonstrated throughout her career the rich potential of abstraction, not only as an exploration of form, color, gesture, touch and composition, but also as a means to relate to the world -- or her world.

In contrast to the spare elegance of her daily drawings, there’s a current of violence, of catastrophe both natural and man-made, in the large and active paintings at Barbara Archer Gallery. Rodriguez brings her dazzling array of marks and forms together into a fragile, tremulous alliance, ever on the verge of fragmentation. In “Crush,” for example, a mass of black lines explodes as it slams into the central form. Anxiety and beauty are fractious bedfellows here.

Through Jan. 8. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. 280 Elizabeth St., No. A012. 404-523-1845.

Charlotte Riley-Webb. Recently refurbished and decked out with holiday decor, the Hammonds House Museum and Resource Center of African-American Art is just the setting for Charlotte Riley-Webb's exuberant paintings, pastels, collages and sculptures. The Atlanta artist is equally comfortable with abstraction, figuration and the continuum between those poles. Her thematic range is similarly broad, touching African-American family life and history, nature, and art.

Brilliant color and dynamic rhythms, the DNA of all the work, reach their apogee in the pastels in the back gallery. These dense tapestries of marks, curvaceous planes and passages of dense patterning alluding to African textiles are a sensual delight.

Through Jan. 30. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays. 503 Peeples St. 404-612-0500.

Marcus Kenney. The Savannah artist has outdone himself in his eye-popping exhibition at Marcia Wood Gallery. Best known for collaged paintings, Kenney applies the same eye for materials, color and witty use of the found object, not to mention the same pointed commentary, to his wall-hung sculptures.

A stag’s head stuffed by a taxidermist, which Kenney anthropomorphizes with hair, jewels, hats and the like, is the starting point for each of these baroque assemblages. In “Fuquawah,” the head wears a feathered headdress and a choker of wine-bottle corks. A colonist’s trophy, it would seem, and a comment on our treatment of Native Americans.

The sculptures have in turn informed the collages, which are denser and richer but just as mordant.

Through Jan. 1. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. 263 Walker St. 404-827-0030.

Brian Dettmer. As skilled as any neurosurgeon, the Atlanta artist carves books into beautiful, intricately layered sculptures that bespeak the architecture and history of knowledge even as they allude to the fragility of its truths and the print medium that conveys them.

As the pieces at Saltworks gallery demonstrate, Dettmer deconstructs and reconstructs the shape of the book and binding as well its pages. He arranged volumes of “Organized Knowledge in Story and Picture” to suggest an altarpiece. Just as Dettmer gives old books new life, he reframes their content. The information may be outdated, but the old military manuals and histories still have something to tell us about ourselves.

Through Jan. 15. Noon-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays. 664 11th St. 404-881-0411.

Catherine Fox is chief visual arts critic of