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Chosen

Memories, frequently of a natural setting, provide the inspiration for Andrew Morgan's subtly beautiful works that layer painting, expressive pencil strokes and writing.

"I start with a memory of something or a place outside the studio and start putting down color," he said. "Sometimes I add text or a scribble of some sort that always refers back to the memory. It becomes a train of thought, like daydreaming almost. I'm working on something while having a thought process. All of the marks refer back to that."

His paintings are on display through March 20 at Davis & Cline Gallery 525, 525 A St., as owner John Davis presents the 5th Annual BFA Show.

David Turner, director of the University of Oregon Museum of Art, traveled to Southern Oregon University and selected Morgan's work for inclusion in the show.

For her part, Josine Ianco-Starrels, former Los Angeles Municipal Museum director and curator of special exhibits at SOU's Schneider Museum, visited students in Eugene and chose Ariana Schwartz to display her vibrant batik on silk prints.

Morgan said he felt honored to be chosen for the exhibit from among his fellow Bachelor of Fine Arts students at SOU.

"It feels like a family. All of the artists are really close. To be picked by David Turner and to have the support of the other painters was incredible," he said.

According to Davis, the annual BFA show not only provides valuable exposure to new artists and cross-

fertilization between SOU and U of O, but it benefits the gallery as well.

"This connection with these BFA students is terrifically rewarding. It keeps the gallery focused on innovation and new art," Davis said.

Looking at Morgan's work on display at the gallery, there is no indication that the sophisticated paintings have been done by a student - except for the price.

Art lovers on a budget or otherwise can find Morgan's large-scale canvases for as little as $700, and smaller paintings for even less. The students' receive 90 percent of the sales price, far more than the usual 50 percent commission charged by galleries, according to Davis.

Morgan, 21, uses a palette of white, cream, gray, olive and taupe, with occasional touches of sienna and soft rose. Darker scribbles, smudges and writing provide emphasis, but he frequently paints over the marks partially with a thin wash.

The multiple layers of paint and marks create an atmospheric, translucent surface.

"I find these colors are a lot deeper. It's not as flat as using brighter colors. These colors have depth. The colors also have more of a sense of age to them because they are muted," Morgan said.

He noted those colors are earthy, in keeping with the natural theme that crops up in many of the works.

Brief, poetic phrases, such as "tree with red leaves" and "an open clearing," reference Morgan's thought processes.

A student of French since second grade, he also uses words and phrases from the Romantic language.

"It's another way of expressing things. It's another way to approach an idea other than to just use English," he said.

But Morgan said he doesn't want viewers to feel they must decipher French or try to guess at his memories in order to appreciate the work.

"It is a memory, but the viewer isn't necessarily always supposed to understand what is there. I want it to be like looking at a page of a da Vinci notebook," he said. "Even if you don't read Italian, there's something beautiful about the note taking and the sketches."