Comment

Lessons from the Shadows

September 24, 2016 - December 3, 2016

Gallery II

“I believe in Art as a means of transcendence and connection.  My images are simply what I’ve made from what I have been given.  I hope they have done justice to their sources and that they will, for a moment, ‘stay the shadows of contentment too short lived’ (Sor Juana Inés De La Cruz).”   —Josephine Sacabo

New Orleans photographer Josephine Sacabo employs an array of photographic techniques to produce dream-like images that often illustrate historical and cultural narratives. Lessons from the Shadows focuses on two of Sacabo’s photography portfolios: Juana and the Structures of Reverie and Óyeme Con Los Ojos

Juana and the Structures of Reverie consists of more than 40 wet collodion tintypes. Together they tell the tragic story of Juana la Loca (Juana the Mad) who reigned as the Queen of Spain in the 16th-century. Juana’s reign was absolved after being imprisoned for 46 years by her father, husband and son in the Convent of Santa Clara. During her forced confinement, Juana slowly descended into a perpetual state of paranoia, convinced that the nuns of the convent were plotting her death. Her paranoia often prevented her from eating, sleeping and bathing. Sacabo’s stunning tintypes illustrate the gradual decline of Juana la Loca and explore an imaginary world created by the imprisoned queen.

Óyeme Con Los Ojos consists of nearly 50 photogravures that recount the life of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the 17th-century Mexican nun who is still revered as one of the country’s greatest poets and intellectuals. Sadly, Sor Juana was victim to her time, her gender and her faith. After being imprisoned for over 20 years, Sor Juana was silenced by the Inquisition, her only sin being an inquisitive, creative and intelligent woman. Sacabo created this portfolio with hopes to break Sor Juana’s silence and once again expose one of history’s most influential yet overlooked intellectuals. 

During her 36 year career, Sacabo’s work has been featured in over 40 gallery and museum exhibitions in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. She has been the recipient of multiple awards and is included in the permanent collections at the George Eastman House, the International Center of Photography, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and la Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris.

Comment

Comment

One Collector's Dream

October 1, 2016 - November 26, 2016

Jenkins Gallery

You may not have met local legend George Lowe, but there is a good chance you have heard his voice. Since he began his radio career in 1974, his voice has contributed to nine Emmy Awards, three ADDY Awards and has earned him praise from the New York Times, USA Today and TV Guide. Millennials will recognize his voice as that of the interstellar talk show host Space Ghost from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim fame. Lowe’s rap sheet of vocal appearances is second only to his checklist of works in his private art collection.

Lowe has been an art collector for over 30 years. His home is a veritable art museum, containing a variety of artworks from mid-century Pop Art to contemporary Folk Art. He refers to collecting art as his passion. His collection includes staple artists like James Rosenquist, Howard Finster, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann, but also includes a number of wildcards like Michael Stipe, Mama Johnson, Shepard Fairy, Lonnie Holley, Sandy Skoglund . . . and, George Lowe.

After decades of pursuing artists and collecting work around the world, Lowe became passionate about his own work. His complex compositions of swirled constellations and meandering pathways seem otherworldly. These abstract drawings have been included numerous exhibitions around the country and can be found in the major museum collections, including the High Museum of Art (Atlanta), The St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, The Georgia Museum and The Foundation for the Advancement of Self-Taught Art.

One Collector’s Dream is the first comprehensive exhibition of George Lowe’s private collection. In one gallery, audiences will witness how one collector’s focus can take on multiple facets and they will perhaps realize the insatiable hunger experienced by such impassioned art collectors. The connections between Lowe’s collection and his own work will also be explored, exposing one of Lakeland’s most prolific creatives. 

Comment

Comment

VSA Exhibition

August 27 – November 6, 2016

Student Gallery

This exhibition highlights work from Very Special Arts (VSA) of Polk County. This program is for gifted students and students with emotional, physical or cognitive challenges who are enrolled in Polk County Schools. The artworks selected for the exhibition represent a wide variety of media and techniques.

For more information about our Student Gallery, visit our Student Gallery page.

 

Sponsored by MIDFLORIDA Credit Union and supported by VSA Florida.

Comment

Comment

A Sum of Its Parts

Victor Vasarely, Untitled (Sphere), n.d., Serigraph (184/250), Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 2001.19.3, Gift of William and Norma Roth

July 13, 2016 – September 17, 2016

Jenkins Gallery and Gallery II

This year marks Polk Museum of Art’s 50th anniversary! When founded in 1966, the Polk Public Museum, as it was called, owned a broadly diverse permanent collection that included everything from petrified dinosaur teeth to homemade dolls. The vision for the permanent collection shifted in the early 1980s when the museum revised its mission to become exclusively an art museum. As it became the Polk Museum of Art, its collecting focus accordingly narrowed to only include works of fine art. Currently, the museum’s permanent collection includes approximately 2,300 art objects ranging from prehistoric artifacts to 21st century digital prints. A Sum of Its Parts will be a comprehensive chronology of the collection that will also chronicle the museum’s evolution alongside its collecting interests.

Comment

Comment

The Overcoming: Works by Donna Petcoff Watson

Donna Petcoff Watson, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas, Courtesy of the Donna Petcoff Watson Gallery and Platform Art Forum for Creativity.

April 30, 2016 - August 27, 2016

Murray & Ledger Galleries

Donna Petcoff Watson was born in Bulgaria just before the onset of World War II. From the very beginning, her life was met with all of the cultural, social and political discord of wartime. She was separated from her father for the first nine years of her life while her family feared the constant barrage of Nazi soldiers through her village. Later in life, other tragedies would follow: the untimely deaths of her mother, father and daughter and her battle to survive both breast and lung cancer.

Yet, Watson is the determined optimist, turning a tumultuous childhood and life’s later tragedies into inspirations for her creative spirit. Her paintings are rooted in the belief that art can resolve and preserve the spirit. These paintings are not merely abstract compositions; her works are exercises in meditation and visual evidence of Watson’s steps toward coping and eventually overcoming all aspects of life. 

Watson initially trained as a painter at the University of Toledo. She began by studying various master artists from art history. She experimented with watercolor, oil and mixed media until she discovered the appropriate creative formula to address the setbacks in her life. Her painting style is a balanced mix of Impressionism and post-World War II American abstraction; although her quick brushwork and color palette recount techniques utilized by such Impressionists a Claude Monet, her interests in formalism and psycho-analysis allude to such early American abstractionists as Mark Rothko. Although parts of the Bulgarian countryside can be recognized in some of her paintings, it is intended to represent Watson’s childhood memories and the natural environment that fostered her during those early years of calamity.

Comment

Comment

Rebels with a Cause

Eleanor Custis (1897-1983), Daisies and Mums, Watercolor on paper, 15.5 x 14.25 in.

Organized by the Huntsville Museum of Art

April 9, 2016 – July 3, 2016

Dorothy Jenkins Gallery & Gallery II

Rebels With a Cause presents outstanding selections of painting, drawings and sculptures from The Huntsville Museum of Art’s recently acquired Sellars Collection of Art by American Women. This landmark holding celebrates the achievements of over 250 talented female artists active between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries. Many rebelled against the convention of their day by exhibiting alongside their male counterparts, receiving awards, and pioneering the way for those who would follow. Today, art historians are rediscovering their accomplishments and establishing their rightful place in the expanding narrative of American history.

Rebels With a Cause features 54 works from the Sellars Collection that exemplify the strong effect that French impressionism had on American art beginning in the late 19th century. The exhibition is focused on works that embody the early influence of French Impressionism and its precursor, the Barbizon Style. The exhibition also showcases works that adopt the various hallmarks of what became known as the American Impressionist style, as well as works that branch out beyond Impressionism’s strict definitions, reflecting more individual artistic approaches. Subjects include accomplished florals and still-lifes, elegant portraits, engaging genre scenes, and landscapes both intimate and panoramic, reflecting many different regions of the country and world. The exhibit showcases a perennially popular style that is sure to be a great crowd pleaser.

Comment

Comment

Some Things Contemporary

December 19, 2015 - April 24, 2016

Hunt Slonem, Guardians, 2010, Oil on canvas, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 2011.7, Gift of Margaret Evangeline © Hunt Slonem

Perkins Gallery

The adjectives modern and contemporary are often misused in reference to fine art. But, that misuse is understandable since the two words are synonyms in the English vernacular. It is also fairly innocent within the context of fine art where we still have art historians who often confuse the two. If someone defines contemporary art in terms of art historical chronology, it is often said to have begun in the 1960s with the rise of postmodern Pop Art. If someone prefers a more literal interpretation, however, it describes a work by any artist currently living.

For this exhibition, we sided with the latter definition; all of the works on display were produced by artists who are still around.  Contemporary art is one of the primary collecting focuses for the Polk Museum of Art. As an addendum to the museum’s exhibitions of works by contemporary artists Russell Young and Michiko Fujii Fowler, we are showing a sampling of works from the museum’s permanent collection of contemporary art. 

Comment

Comment

Another America: Contemporary Latin American Art from the Permanent Collection

Carlos Luna, Pa arriba - Pa abajo, 2007, Gouache and charcoal on amate paper, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 2010.3, Gift of Dr. Emilio and Ada Montero © Carlos Luna

January 30, 2016 - April 23, 2016

Murray & Ledger Galleries

Since its inception in 1966, Polk Museum of Art has established a sophisticated permanent collection. From prehistoric Pre-Columbian antiquities to 21st-century digital prints, the collection boasts a wide ranging survey of historic periods, artistic styles, and cultural trends. Contemporary art is one particularly strong collecting focus for the museum. The museum’s contemporary art collection includes works by artists from diverse cultural backgrounds who are inspired by their unique global perspectives. In order to celebrate one such perspective, Polk Museum of Art exhibits a selection of works by contemporary Latin American artists. Each of these artists have unique approaches to their cultural heritage and create a modern interpretation of what it means to be Latin American.

Comment

Comment

Forever Young: A Retrospective

December 12, 2015 - March 27, 2016

Dorothy Jenkins Gallery

Russell Young’s exploration of American counter culture represents a journey that bears witness to both the excess and ambition that has helped shape the ‘American dream,’ a brooding and sometimes brutal celebration of the characters and events that glamorize and chastise in equal measure. Whether through direct visual reference or by title, the works set out to both assert and challenge our perception and understanding of what it is to be American in the 21st century.

We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” -Marilyn Monroe

Exhibition Partner:

 

Annual Exhibition Fund Sponsors:

Dorothy Chao Jenkins


CNP · Clark/Nikdel/Powell


Florida Southern College


The Linda & Alan Rich Fund


Margaret M. Decker Foundation


Reitzel Foundation


Southern Homes


Sheryll Strang

Comment

Comment

Matter Makes Space: Michiko Fujii Fowler

December 19, 2015 – March 27, 2016

Gallery II

Award winning Japanese artist Michiko Fujii Fowler explores how space is altered by the painting process. She is intrigued by a painting’s duality of space: the illusive space within a painting and the physical space of a painting. Fowler explains, “I believe that a painting has two layered spaces: one is fictional space that is depicted in the painting, and another is a real space that is the painting itself. Generally, when we look at a painting, we focus on the fictional space. However, what we are really looking at is an object called a painting and material called paint.” A major contributor to a painting’s physical space is the multi-layered material that projects into the viewer’s space. It is often difficult for audiences to toggle their perspectives of a painting between its subject and its physical existence, after all the fundamental identity of a painting is found on its painted surface. Fowler creates illusions that invoke regard for her paintings as physical objects.

Matter Makes Space is Michiko Fujii Fowler’s first major museum exhibition in the United States. A native of Japan, Fowler has lived and painted in San Francisco, CA since 2008. Her work is featured in the permanent collection of the Saku Museum of Modern Art and has appeared in a variety of exhibitions. She lived as an artist-in-residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2007 and received the Sokei Award and the Takazawa Award from the Sokei Academy of Fine Art & Design in Tokyo.

Exhibition Partner:

 

Annual Exhibition Fund Sponsors:

Dorothy Chao Jenkins


CNP · Clark/Nikdel/Powell


Florida Southern College


The Linda & Alan Rich Fund


Margaret M. Decker Foundation


Reitzel Foundation


Southern Homes


Sheryll Strang

Comment

Comment

Androids

November 7, 2015 – January 24, 2016

Murray & Ledger Galleries

Through the evolution of the mobile device, fine art photography has undergone a reformation. Whereas the digital camera shifted photography from a time-intensive chemical process to a more immediate electronic art form, the contemporary touchscreen mobile device has concentrated it further to be more efficient and accessible. Combined with numerous downloadable apps and pervading social media, anyone can use their mobile device to capture a digital image, manipulate its appearance, and share it with an international audience in a matter of seconds. Purists may scoff at this modern iteration of photography, but that does not discount its effects on the field or its acceptance by the art world.

With this exhibition, Polk Museum of Art hosts its very first exhibition solely dedicated to touchscreen photography while also celebrating the work of a local photographer.

Tony Guinn is perhaps best known as the proprietor of Tony’s Studio B in downtown Lakeland. Before that, however, he was known for his work as a photographer. This exhibition explores Guinn’s experiments with and gradual acceptance of the benefits of his HTC Android camera phone. Behind these images is an unsaid conflict between a curious artist and an undeniable high-tech phenomenon.

Comment

Comment

Other Destinations

August 22, 2015 – December 13, 2015

Perkins Gallery

Other Destinations is curated from the Polk Museum of Art permanent collection and celebrates the allure of “somewhere else.” Formed as a counterpart to the current major exhibition Destinations in Paintings: The Kasten Collection, this exhibition highlights a contemporary critique of experiencing some new place or escaping our daily environments for renewal in some foreign space.

Hansen Mulford, Woods near Jupiter Springs, 1990, Oil on linen, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 1990.89, Gift of the friends of Selma and Lester Wishnatzki in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary

Other Destinations is also intended to explore why we 21st-century travelers are drawn to specific locations and the criteria we use to interpret them. Why do we connect with certain places? How do we familiarize ourselves with and relate to other destinations?  Those questions often make intriguing subjects for contemporary artists, who are always chasing the “new.”

Most artists these days do not approach a destination strictly based on its aesthetic qualities. Unlike 19th-century academic landscape painters who relished in the natural beauty of a site, modern artists more often examine the surrounding context of a location, allowing that to form the visual landscape. This isn’t to say neither they, nor we modern viewers, do not acknowledge and appreciate the unique physical beauty of another place; we usually flail in the serenity provided by such beauty. But as our world grows increasingly smaller, it doesn’t always seem enough to marvel at a place’s objective beauty; there are nowadays subjective and unseen qualifiers that play in our full understanding of an inspiring destination.

The artworks included in Other Destinations are perhaps less literal and in some ways less lyrical than those romantic paintings from the academic tradition. Many of them contain a cerebral interpretation of a destination, or are perhaps visual commentaries on the society or culture of a specific place. In its characteristic tradition, modern art represents a world that no longer needs to be literally represented and inhabited; modern destinations must be contextually experienced, not geographically explored; understood according to their diverse social and cultural climates. Other Destinations provides that contemporary compliment.

Comment

Comment

An American in Venice: James McNeill Whistler and His Legacy

October 10 – December 5, 2015 

Gallery II
Organized by the Syracuse University Art Collection

In 1879 American artist James McNeill Whistler arrived in Italy with a commission from the Fine Arts Society of London to create twelve etchings of Venice. Over the ensuing fourteen months the artist produced a body of prints that are among the most important of his career. The prints from Whistler’s Venice period are distinguished by the artist’s original approach to capturing the unique qualities of the canaled city and his innovative use of the etching process.  His prints have arguably become the most studied prints in the history of art– after those of Rembrandt – and they had a significant influence on his followers.

Whistler sought to capture a “Venice of the Venetians,” and his prints depict palazzo entries, private courtyards and sweeping views over the canal where Venice’s most famous monuments rarely appear or are background features. His career-long interest in the effects of light and water were enhanced by his technical innovations developed in this period.

This exhibit presents eleven prints by Whistler, placing them alongside the work of followers who were practicing in Italy in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.  The juxtaposition of these works allows the viewer to appreciate both Whistler’s innovations and the different ways in which his work affected the artists who followed him. While artists such as Mortimer Menpes and Joseph Pennell still enjoy a modicum of fame, other artists in this exhibit, like Minna Bolingbroke, have faded.  Whistler’s legacy lies in his far-reaching vision for both his medium and his subject, which has made his art significant for a remarkably broad range of colleagues.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Long Venice, c.1879-1880, Etching on laid paper, Gift of Mr. Cloud Wampler, SUAC 1963.1022, Courtesy of the Syracuse University Art Collection

Comment