Medford and Ashland galleries are featuring hot new exhibits during July

Medford and Ashland galleries have unveiled hot new art exhibits for July that range from digitally altered photographs to abstract paintings. Here are five that caught our eye.

1. 'Digital Deconstruction: Bruce Bayard'

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center, located at 40 S. Bartlett St. in Medford, has mounted a show titled "Digital Deconstruction: Bruce Bayard."

Bayard often juxtaposes contrasting images to form his artwork. In one series of pieces, the Ashland artist has mixed imagery of floating clouds with the metal gridwork of a bridge — creating a contrast between natural and industrial scenes.

Several pieces in the new exhibit focus on the arid desert land of the Southwest, including the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. His computer experiments include draining the color from sections of his photographs, while ramping up the saturation levels in other areas.

One panoramic image of the Grand Canyon is almost colorless on the left, hyper-saturated with colors of hot pink, orange and turquoise in the middle and naturally toned to the right. The subtle details of the canyon's mesas and cliffs are lost in the center section.

"It plays with the concept of adding something that's not there, which results in losing sight of what's really there," Bayard said.

The Rogue Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

2. Michael Swearngin at Adelante!

Adelante! Gallery is celebrating the American West with paintings by Arizona artist Michael Swearngin.

Unlike traditional Western painters, Swearngin simplifies the shapes of the horses, cowboys and cattle in his pieces to create a contemporary feel. The shapes are filled in with abstract fields of color, often in rust, sage and dusty taupe that recall dry landscapes.

"His contemporary style is all about the worn, rugged spirit of the American West," said Cynthia Wolf, owner of the gallery.

In the painting "Ravens and the Roan II," a single horse stands in a flat, olive-tone landscape, while two ravens flying overhead are silhouetted against a sunflower yellow sky.

Located at 130 E. Main St. in Ashland, Adelante! Gallery is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

3. Susan Hargrove: 'Crows and Ravens'

Crows and ravens have taken over at Hanson Howard Gallery, which is showing the bird-themed paintings of California artist Susan Hargrove, who grew up in Ashland.

The exhibit "Crows and Ravens" is a result of Hargrove's fascination with these birds, whose behavior, antics and beauty have inspired poets, myth-makers and artists.

Hargrove has contrasted the dark shapes of the crows with bright, expressionist reds and yellows. Women, often dressed in harlequin costumes, accompany the birds. In the fanciful painting "Butterflies and Crows, Big Sis and Little Sis," a woman balances on a ball while holding the leash of her pet crow. Meanwhile, butterflies climb a ladder and then launch themselves into the air.

4. Alx Fox at Art & Soul

At Art & Soul Gallery, featured artist Alx Fox is showing abstract expressionist paintings.

Fox said she tries to create works that evoke a sense of wonder and well-being during ever-changing times. As an abstract expressionist, Fox said her primary tools are composition, focus and the use of bold colors.

Many of her paintings are filled with oranges and red, while others use more subtle hues. "Keep Going" has a sophisticated palette of whites, grays and blacks, with hints of gold and sky blue.

Art & Soul Gallery, 247 E. Main St., Ashland, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

5. Faces of Chuck Close

The Schneider Museum of Art on the Southern Oregon University campus in Ashland has a not-to-be-missed exhibit of prints by internationally known artist Chuck Close, who continues to push the boundaries of portraiture after decades as an artist.

Works range from portraits created with ink fingerprints, to large-scale photorealist faces that upon close inspection are composed of thousands of tiny abstract paintings.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is $5. View the art and participate in a hands-on art activity during Free Family Days from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 11, and Saturday, Aug. 1.