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New Valley Focus exhibition opening at Carnegie
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Almost 100 works by Jamey Brzezinski will be the next “Valley Focus” exhibition at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock.

The works of Jamey Brzezinski will be the next “Valley Focus” exhibition at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock.

Once each year the Carnegie presents a “Valley Focus” exhibition, celebrating artists who have had an impact on the Central Valley art scene. This year the Carnegie will highlight the work of Brzezinski in a solo exhibition of almost 100 paintings. Brzezinski’s career includes a significant 20-year tenure at Merced College (1992-2012), where his influence and style helped shape more than one generation of aspiring artists.

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Having spent time living in the Bay Area, the Central Valley, Humboldt County, and the Yosemite region, Brzezinski’s focus has always been on California—its land, sky, sea and shore. His paintings have continually explored the different colors, textures and spaces to be found in regions all across the state. Now retired from teaching and settled in Pacifica, he still finds himself traveling through—and exhibiting his work—in the Central Valley where he continues to find inspiration.

This “retrospection” combines elements of a retrospective (spanning almost 20-years of Brzezinski’s career) with an exhibition of his most recent paintings. In looking at both the past and the present we see a continuing fascination with, and exploration of, perception. Carnegie Director, Lisa McDermott, says “In this exhibition we hope to inspire viewers to look beyond the surface of realism and delve into the complex realm of abstraction. Brzezinski poses a challenge to the viewer by asking us to perceive his works on multiple levels.”

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Subjects that appear as realistically depicted as a photograph are actually pure invention. Beginning with sketches that come from his imagination, drawing on memories but not specific places or objects, Brzezinski creates paintings that require exploration and reflection.  McDermott describes the viewer’s experience as a challenge from the artist: “At first glance we ‘see’ an object or place, but with closer inspection and a little guidance from the artist’s statements, we might question what we perceive. Are the paintings representational or abstract? Can they be both at the same time? These explorations take place in different thematic series as a way of dissecting each subject through repetition and variation. This should not be too surprising; Jamey is also an accomplished jazz musician.”

There will be an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 23. The exhibition will remain on view through March 22 in the Ferrari Gallery. The Carnegie is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

General admission to the Ferrari Gallery is $7; seniors/students $5; free for Carnegie members and children 12 and under. The Carnegie Arts Center is located at 250 N. Broadway, Turlock.