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In the galleries 

Follow the yellow brick road to Carrboro's Bronwyn Merritt Gallery, which is exhibiting 40 paintings of tornadoes by Chapel Hill artist Martha Petty. Petty usually works large, but these new encaustic paintings on plywood are the artist's first small pieces ("Tornado" is pictured). "She's fascinated by nature and natural forces, and her paintings are very energetic," says gallery director Bronwyn Merritt. Tornadoes first appeared in the artist's work in 1991, in a large landscape. Petty says she knew the encaustic medium would lend itself to the incredible atmospheric effects she wanted for a series of small paintings of tornadoes, however. "I just think their form and shape is beautiful--they're very ethereal, very sensuous," she says. The paintings cover a range of shades from cadmium red to cadmium orange, but each painting is unique. See them through June 8. Call 929-9666 for details.

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