Helen Mirra

Through Jan. 5. Peter Freeman, 140 Grand Street, Manhattan; 212-966-5154, peterfreemaninc.com.

Helen Mirra’s marvelous SoHo show of small, vibrant weavings, evocatively titled “Bones Are Spaces,” rebalances the visual and intellectual elements of her work. For over two decades, this American artist has assiduously imbued her modest, low-lying sculptures and wall pieces — handmade from assorted found materials, dissected objects and, occasionally, borrowed texts — with complex reverberations of literature, history and philosophy. At times, these complexities have remained obscure unless clarified by the gallery’s news release, making the work feel hermetic and precious.

The 24 weavings here were made on a hand loom over the last three years, using linen and wool and sometimes silk. They progress from pieces rarely more than 12 inches on a side, which are dominated by various shapes against contrasting backgrounds, to somewhat larger works in more muted yet sumptuous monochromes. In these, especially, the complexities are right on the surface: in subtle shifts in texture, tonality and the tightness of the weave; hints of shapes and grids; and other variations. All is in flux, depending on your distance from the works or where you place your attention. Everything about them conveys and invites considerable thought and concentration. The title’s reference to the intricate interiors of bones — which combine hollow and solid, hard and soft — seems apt.

Ms. Mirra has often linked her work to her devotion to walking in nature, and the connection seems especially close here. Weaving is a linear activity with a cumulative effect. Ms. Mirra’s weavings can also be seen as reliefs, paintings and texts, especially those that teem with surface incident, including several from 2018 named for the months in which they were made.

Perhaps most telling is the news release that has been, it says, “intentionally left blank.” To Ms. Mirra’s credit, we are on our own. ROBERTA SMITH

Magalie Comeau

Through Jan. 6. Mitchell Algus Gallery, 132 Delancey Street, second floor, Manhattan; 516-639-4918, mitchellalgusgallery.com.

Magalie Comeau works slowly. Her paintings reveal themselves slowly, too. Each canvas in “New and Recent Paintings,” at Mitchell Algus Gallery, her first New York solo show and one of the few times she’s shown outside her native Quebec, is a black, white or rosy beige monochrome interrupted by a complication of intersecting shadows.

Inside this complication there may be a stark figment of architecture. In “De la Profondeur du Lave-Temps de l’Horloge Hystérésique aux Champs de Mains,” it’s a tiny, uninhabited suburban interior. But this bit of bounded space serves mainly to emphasize the unbounded emptiness around it, adding a note of theatricality to the painting’s spacey transcendence. (Imagine an avant-garde monologue about death whose relentless focus is strangely soothing.)

Even the pieces without such explicit figuration have auras of architectural allusion. Sharp-edged but shadowy zones of overlapping color evoke drywall, masking tape or slightly stuffy house paint samples. More broadly, the pieces also bring to mind the installations of the Light and Space movement — with the critical difference that, both because of the way they’re painted and simply because they’re paintings, they aren’t trying to determine every aspect of a visitor’s experience. Instead, they're waiting patiently to be fallen into.

“Cachettes Votives aux Dimensions Insaisissables,” my own favorite, is an 84-inch-square black lozenge with a thick shaft of whites and grays pouring down just right of center. It’s hard to focus on but impossible to look away from. WILL HEINRICH

Jennifer Wynne Reeves

Through Feb. 3. The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, Manhattan; 212-219-2166, drawingcenter.org.

Most artists working with traditional materials use social media to plug their projects, risking promiscuous levels of self-promotion. A handful transcend this tendency, however, employing the same platforms toward creative, even visionary ends. Jennifer Wynne Reeves was one such artist. Living in a small town in the Delaware River Valley, she used Facebook as her connection to the larger art world, but also as her journal, studio, classroom and utopian forum. Her Facebook presence also helped secure her first institutional exhibition, “All Right for Now,” at the Drawing Center, four years after her untimely death from brain cancer.

Ms. Reeves’s paintings, drawings and sketchbooks, in deep matte hues, are on view here; they are quirky and occasionally brilliant. Many of the works have an illustrative quality and include text that helps situate or explain them. “Mondrian Guy and Expressionist Guy” (2005) is a small gouache with two figures — a slab of straight lines and a cloud of squiggles — that suggest artistic attitudes as well as worldviews. “Swallow” (2013), a larger canvas with globs of pigment perched casually on its frame, includes a trompe l’oeil sheet of paper painted with a diaristic poem that ends with a swallow dipping into the Delaware River.

Some of Ms. Reeves’s Facebook posts are reproduced in an accompanying catalog, giving you a sense of her voice, which was a bit like that of an Emily Dickinson for the internet age. “I believe in greatness,” she wrote in February 2014. “Great buildings survive earthquakes if their foundations sit on shock absorbers.” Greatness is relative, though, she argued, and we should all encourage one another toward it. Ms. Reeves’s own foundations, built on art and virtual community, have proved, even posthumously, to be extraordinarily sound. MARTHA SCHWENDENER

‘For Opacity’

Through Feb. 3. The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, Manhattan; 212-219-2166, drawingcenter.org.

Complex and colorful drawings by Toyin Ojih Odutola, Nathaniel Mary Quinn and Elijah Burgher make for an unusually rich show in “For Opacity,” curated by Claire Gilman at the Drawing Center.

The show’s title is borrowed from a 1990 essay in which Édouard Glissant argues for the right of colonized or oppressed peoples to occupy space in Western society without explaining themselves. This type of politically charged “opacity” does come up in the work, but the concept raises an equally interesting question about the relationship of artwork to viewer: What do they owe each other?

Mr. Burgher’s “Eden Flag With Solar-Anal Emblems and Hexes,” a colored-pencil conglomeration of graphic devices that suggests esoteric magic and queer desire, is charming in its evasiveness. Wondering about the specific significance of the symbols doesn’t prevent you from enjoying their overall effect. But several portraits of young men against backgrounds of similar symbols are more uncomfortable: The figures are so meticulously rendered that the ambiguity behind them makes you feel snubbed.

Ms. Ojih Odutola’s use of black ink to draw white faces in half a dozen striking small works emphasizes the political weight of color without committing to a specific position. Her large charcoal and pastel portrait, “A Guarded Intimacy,” in which a watchful young man’s face is framed by walls, windows and a patterned sweater, demonstrates how a distant affect can express its own kind of vulnerability.

Mr. Quinn takes this paradoxical performance of truth to a brilliant height with large multimedia drawings that look like collages. In “Elephant Feet,” an adult forehead, eyes and nose that look as if they were taken from torn photographs and a miniature but still oversize fur coat combine to form a defiantly heartbreaking figure whose patchwork composition is really a way of being whole. WILL HEINRICH

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