Painting soul mates

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Saturday night's show will pair two artists, Renee A. Fox and Nancy Jeffrey, who have been working together and influencing each other for almost a decade. Their sensibilities have taken turns in similar directions even when they weren't working together. Painting soul mates, Jeffrey calls them. Fox and Jeffrey will be joined and complemented in this weekend's show with the ceramic art of local artist Julie Anderson. All three women explore images from nature and natural references with simple, detailed, very accurate lines. Anderson is in her 20s. Fox is in her 30s. Jeffrey is in her 40s.

Jeffrey and Fox met in 1996 in Washington, D.C. A mutual acquaintance pestered Jeffrey into looking at Fox's portfolio.

Out of politeness, Jeffrey finally accepted, planning to say something nice, close the portfolio and get back to her own work.

"But when I opened her portfolio, it looked like I'd done the work myself," Jeffrey said. "We have a similar palette, and we have both crossed over between design and fine art. Color is so important in design, and we are both very influenced by it. Our taste is similar, and our use of space is similar."

Jeffrey immediately offered her work on a mural. (Jeffrey is an interior designer.)

"I've hired her on every project I've done since I met her," Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey's latest pieces are surreal plant forms juxtaposing what is real with something imagined, and Fox's paintings are more literal if exaggerated paintings of things she finds in nature.

Her piece, "Pine Cones" is a close look at a pine cone Fox found while taking a moonlit hike.

"I bring things to an iconic kind of standing by painting them so large," she said. "For me, I use images as metaphor, and beauty is a big part of work."

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