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Sequential: New Paintings by Chieko Murasugi and Renzo Ortega

CHIEKO MURASUGI & RENZO ORTEGA: SEQUENTIAL, an exhibition featuring both abstract and figurative works by two artists with international backgrounds, opens at Craven Allen Gallery on Saturday, May 20th with a reception from 5 to 7 pm, and continues through July 8.

Painting is a sequential endeavor. A painting consists of a sequence of brush strokes, a series is a sequence of paintings, and a body of work is the culmination of the artist’s production. Every painter is also indebted to the long succession of painters who preceded them. In this exhibition, painters Chieko Murasugi and Renzo Ortega, arriving from very different backgrounds and pictorial approaches, create works that speak to the idea of sequence, both within the canvas and outside of it, all the while expressing their vision of what painting means at this moment.

Chieko Murasugi employs personal symbols and visual illusions within an abstract language to access the realm of ideas. She visualizes the notion of chance by using a computer program to "roll the dice" and introduce randomized elements into ordered sequences and patterns. In these paintings, selected features are randomized within both traditional and novel patterns to create a balance between predictable and unstable perceptions. Chieko frequently employs the hexagon, a Japanese symbol of longevity and a shape that holds personal significance. By chance, her parents narrowly escaped the fires from M-69 incendiary bombs dropped on Tokyo during WWII, bombs housed in hexagon shaped containers. In other paintings, Chieko incorporates the recently discovered Einstein hat shape that is based upon the hexagon and creates tile patterns that do not repeat. Lack of repetition is a crucial characteristic of randomness.

Renzo Ortega's painting practice consists of consistent, repetitive processes, which is how he masters his craft. Renzo believes that a constant pictorial rhythm has existed since the beginning of human existence. He relates rhythm with heartbeats and connects paintings with bodies' frequencies. For Renzo, this consistent sequential rhythm exists in the masterworks of the history of easel painting. For example, in the drumroll-like strokes of bold impressionist brushwork, in the obsessively revisiting over and over color sequences of Van Gogh, in the endless different point of view approach on the same theme of modernism, to the tremendous progressive line of twentieth-century pictorial isms, which unleashed a free-minded contemporary painting that is the result of an infinite loop of expression through painting's physicality.

The SEQUENTIAL exhibition invites the observer on a visual journey, generating an organic relationship between the artworks and the gallery's visitors. Through the dynamics of color, form, ideas, and narratives, Chieko Murasugi and Renzo Ortega seek to generate a dialogue and the experience of art appreciation with the audience.

May 20, 5 -7 pm, then continuing through July 8, Monday-Friday, 10 am-6 pm and Saturday 10 am-4 pm.