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Galleries court simplicity in August

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Whether it's sitting outside on the porch sipping sweet tea or spending a lazy day listening to waves lap against the shore, summer is all about relaxation. Once September rolls around, school starts, the days get shorter and the work begins to pile up. It's no surprise, then, that Triangle art galleries are taking advantage of the waning days of summer to unveil exhibitions that celebrate simplicity and show appreciation for place. Drawing from inspirations as varied as the plant life of Iceland to a grandmother's artwork, August art offers something for everyone.

Summer artist-in-residence Grimanesa Amoros will close her residency at Raleigh's Artspace with an exhibition entitled Rootless Algas, designed to highlight pieces she created during her time at the gallery. The installation reflects Amoros' travels in Flatey, an island off the coast of Iceland populated by about six people. During her stay, Amoros became fascinated by the thick, textured accumulations of algae covering the coastline, and many of the pieces in the exhibit are sculptural interpretations of this growth. Amoros was particularly inspired by the rootless nature of the algae, feeling connected to it because of her own wandering. The exhibition kicks off with a First Friday Gallery walk on Aug. 6 and will continue through Sept. 25. 201 E. Davie St., Raleigh. 821-2787 or www.artspacenc.org .

Also at Artspace is a new installation by painter Tommy Hilding, considered one of the finest artists to emerge from Sweden. The show, entitled Sensor, is a collection of 24 works that explore Hilding's perception of place. Each painting will focus on the juxtaposition between the tangible world of reality and the perceived, often inaccurate memory of it. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Embassy of Sweden and the Consulate of Sweden. Runs Aug. 6 through Sept. 11.

The New York art scene comes to Raleigh as part of Bickett Gallery's latest show, which gathers a diverse slate of international artists into one setting. The distinct style and differing medium of each artist ensures that viewers won't be disappointed with what they see. Featured artists include Soheyla Ben-Amotz, Claude Carone and Holly Miller. Through Aug. 28. 209 Bickett Blvd., Raleigh. 836-5358 or www.bickettgallery.com .

The Duke University Union Visual Arts Committee concludes its 2003-04 season with an exhibit by California-based artist Mela M., entitled Spatial Space and Architecture. The installation takes audiences on a journey of the relationship between space and place through a series of acrylics, drawings and tiles displayed throughout the Louise Jones Brown Gallery, located in the Bryan Center on West Campus. Through Aug. 12. www.duke.edu/web/duu/visualartsindex.htm .

Three female artists receive their Triangle debut as part of Branch Gallery's latest showing. The works of Ky Anderson, Rachell Sumpter and Megan Whitmarsh share an appreciation for life's whimsy. Anderson works in painting and sculpture simultaneously, allowing the two to play off each other and ideas to come out in more intuitive ways. Sumpter draws on the inspiration of her grandmother's children's book illustrations to create deceptively simple drawings that explore the ironies inherent in society, as well as her perception of the human condition. Finally, Whitmarsh uses innovative embroidery and bold colors to create pieces that must be viewed up close: Tiny people float in sparse landscapes, surrounded by flower patches or mountain peaks, providing a rich viewing experience. Through Sept. 4. 205 W. Weaver St., Carrboro. 918-1116 or www.branchgallery.com.

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