Chapel Hill artists Chieko Murasugi, Neil Patterson and Louis Watts prove that everything is not as it seems with their abstract work featured in the “Transcending Geometry” exhibition.
The exhibit is housed by Oneoneone, a contemporary art gallery inside of Sitzer-Spuria Studios. Each featured artist explores a unique relationship with geometry in their work to address questions of perception, memory and metaphysics.
“I like the idea of playing with illusions to speak to the notion that we can’t always believe what we see,” Murasugi said. “What we see can be deceptive.”
Watts, the former gallery director at Oneoneone, and Cindy Spuria, the leader of Sitzer-Spuria Studios, worked together to select the art for the gallery. Each artist brings distinctive skills and backgrounds to create their illusions. Together, their work depicts a variety of approaches within the overarching theme of geometry.
“I think the fact that we all work in abstraction and with angles and geometric shapes (is exciting),” Murasugi said. “Yet, we differ so much in our color palettes, our scales and our materials.”
Patterson and Murasugi use sharp edges to create geometric illusions, though Patterson primarily uses marker on bristle board while Murasugi comes from a painting background. Watts, who describes his paintings as “looser in spots,” uses charcoal and paint.
“I am always curious to see the connectivity between the artists we choose,” Spuria said. “These three practice with a daily dedication to their work that is akin to meditation.”
Spuria said she has received positive feedback on “Transcending Geometry” from residents and visitors of Greenbridge Condominiums, where the physical exhibit is on display.
“You kind of have to play your audience a little bit,” Watts said. “For the most part, they’re just trying to go to the dentist.”
Despite receiving positive feedback on the exhibit, both artists note that putting their work into the world has been strange during a pandemic. Opening receptions, for example, are almost impossible.
“I feel like before (the pandemic), I kind of hated opening receptions because I’m very introverted and I was like, ‘Ah, exhausting,’ but now I realize how important they are, and I miss them a lot,” Watts said.
Murasugi reflects on opening receptions compared to presenting new art today.
“It almost feels like putting your work into a black hole,” she said.
Although COVID-19 has posed challenges for artists, Murasugi continues to pursue what she loves. Abstract painting is a reminder to her that multiple things can be true at the same time.
“You think about your memories or your perceptions or even the histories that you learned about in school, and there are so many different interpretations,” Murasugi said. “There are so many different points of view, and in my work, I like to remind myself of that. Hopefully the viewer can grasp that, too.”
Watts appreciates that abstract art allows for mystery and variety in understanding, though he said his dad always comes up with a “ridiculous” interpretation. He believes that the viewer is half of the artwork.
Watts and Spuria worked to ensure that the show would appeal to a variety of viewers, including non-artists passing through the lobby. Watts said “Transcending Geometry” is satisfying on all levels.
“Whatever their experiences are, their background, where they came from, what mood they're in, etc., (the viewer) brings that to the viewing of whatever the piece is,” Watts said.
View the “Transcending Geometry” gallery here or in the lobby of Greenbridge Condominiums until March 31.
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