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In the Galleries - Solitude CLOSES January 30 at the University City Public Library 

Four local artists — Ella Brown, Dan Esarey, Jennifer Meahan, Valerie Snyder — consider nature as a muse in a group exhibition of landscape photographs and watercolors. Brown, the quartet's sole watercolorist, renders delicate scenes of open fields, knotted forests, snow-covered hills and other serenely unpeopled vistas. Esarey's photographic subjects range from Southwestern pueblos and abandoned Midwestern farm structures to owls and eagles at roost or in flight. Meahan displays a series of large, near-abstract photographic close-ups of brightly hued branches, leaves and petals caught in various degrees of saturated luminosity. Snyder slews from broad to intimate, homing in on a single flower or panning out to embrace a wide swath of mountainside, and she isn't reluctant to amp the ante to near-fluorescent hues via digital manipulation. According to their artist statements, three of the four are self-taught (the exception is Meahan, a student at UMSL). This show, then, pays elegant tribute to their drive to chronicle the beauty on the periphery of their lives. Through January 30 at the University City Public Library Gallery, 6701 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-3150 or Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun.

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