At Bickett Gallery, Ana Vizcarra takes on a fairly gargantuan task in her examination of the muses of Greek mythology through paintings, photographs and various mixed media displays. Although there is a large quantity of work, there is a riot of styles, themes and media that contributes to a lack of depth. Individually, pieces do stand out, notably "La Belle Tragedie" (reminiscent of Picasso's "Les Demoiselles D'Avignon") and "Inspiring the Muses," both mixed media paintings in near monochromatic palettes. Although Vizcarra states her intention to imbue these figures with the "spontaneity and individuality" of the women who inspired them, her most effective paintings depict the muses as classically statuesque, untouchable and supermodel-blase. Not really surprising, since it is that mystique that lures and compels the artist to attempt to understand them. 209 Bickett Blvd., Raleigh, through June 19. 836-5358 or www.bickettgallery.com .
Sue Sneddon 's large collection of sea and skyscapes at Craven Allen Gallery, Some Times Silver, demonstrates her skills in several media, and serves as a testimonial to her dedication to her subject. Sneddon put in long hours capturing the rapidly changing light and colors in these ocean views, often with high drama. "Near Equinox Fire" is subtly textured across its fine surface, but orange fire burns in the clouds and reflects in the blue waters below. Night pastels such as "Moon Temple" and "Colors of the Dark" glow and shimmer with reflected light. Bright accents pop in the night scenes "Lava Palm," with red-orange against a black sky, and aqua waves creep over "Black Sand Beach." Sneddon is to be congratulated on this very satisfying summer show. 1106 Broad St., Durham, through July 10. 286-4837 or www.cravenallengallery.com .
More summer themed art greets the visitor at the Durham Art Guild , with Ronan Peterson's earthenware sculptures and vessels. Beautifully colored and crafted bowls echoing shapes of gourds and pods are standouts here, along with hive-shaped jars that bring up the colors and textures of the summer garden. In the next room, the N.C. Printmaker's Guild provides excellent examples of woodblock, monotype, intaglio, photo-etching and lithography.
Soni Martin 's encaustic monoprints "Memory Scenes, Parts I, II and III" are of special interest for their texture, subdued color and layered effects.
Jacquelyn Nouveau's art quilts complete the group and provide examples of a host of fabric techniques. They are dyed, painted, overprinted, appliqued and collaged to create a kind of fabric painting--and of course, they are quilted as well, which further enhances the richly layered surfaces. 120 Morris St., Durham, through June 20. 560-2713 or www.durhamartguild.org.
Eve, the Madonna, various goddesses and other feminine icons are celebrated in Cindy Aldrich 's collection of pieces at Claymakers , which she describes as "historical and cultural imagery and iconography from a female perspective." Many pieces are accompanied by text that illuminates their cultural origins and historical contexts, such as the 15th century style virge ouvrant (opening virgin) which opens to reveal a little goddess inside, or the black Madonna, which is common to many cultures. The opening on Thursday, June 3, from 7-9 p.m., will feature a community altar, on which anyone can display objects that are sacred to them, such as photos, mementos and favorite things. 705 Foster Street, Durham, through June 30. 530-8355 or www.claymakers.com .
A Byzantine influence can be seen in Macedonian artist Robert Cvetkovski's large abstract works at Sizl Gallery . Cvetkovski uses oil and acrylic paints mixed with sand to create these heavily layered and textured mixed-media paintings, which center around doorway-like passages and archways. Many are covered by calligraphic markings, both etched and painted into the surface-like remnants of a lost language. Most are dark, with brighter colors peeking through the eroded layers, as in "Cycle Message XIV." The bright gold of "Cycle Message XI," is burnished away in places to reveal bits of turquoise and crimson across its crumbled stone-like surface. These pieces have tremendous visual appeal, especially in the larger scaled works with extensive surface treatment. 405 E. Main St., Carrboro, though June 6 (many pieces will remain on exhibit after this date). 960-0098 or www.sizlgallery.com .