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Carlton Ward, Everglades Egret © Carlton Ward 2016

Florida Wild

March 7 - May 28, 2017

Dorothy Jenkins Gallery & Gallery 2

Florida Wild presents a collection of landscape and wildlife photographs by acclaimed conservation photographer and eighth-generation Floridian Carlton Ward. Captured through compelling imagery and visual design, photographs featured in the exhibit will provide viewers with a rare opportunity to experience some of Florida’s most captivating wildlife and native habitats.  At the same time, Ward’s photographs call attention to the fragility of Florida’s natural environment and how that very life may not survive without preservation. Advocating the protection of these natural resources and wildlife habitats, Ward empowers viewers and ignites the conversation needed to keep Florida wild.


Exhibition Partner:

Exhibition Sponsors:

Annual Exhibition Fund Donors:

Barney's Pumps, Inc.
Dorothy Chao Jenkins
CNP · Clark/Nikdel/Powell
Core Wealth Advisors, Inc.
Margaret M. Decker Foundation
Furr & Wegman Architects, PA
Thelma C. Kells Endowment Fund
within the Give Well Community Foundation
Robert & Malena Puterbaugh
Dr. Alan & Linda Rich Fund
within the Give Well Community Foundation
Share Foundation
Rodda Construction, Inc.
Southern Homes
Kerry & Buffy Wilson

Rachel Stewart, Source, n.d., Re-purposed pallet boards, carved and painted plywood and plaster © Rachel Stewart

Translated Forms

March 18 - June 10, 2017

Murray & Ledger Galleries

This exhibition features the artwork of St. Petersburg, Florida artist Rachel Stewart. Stewart is inspired by the markings of nature, the results of changing formations caused by the nuances of time and seasons. The content of her work draws from observing and interacting with nature and translates her memories into abstract forms.

 Stewart primarily works with wood – constructing and deconstructing discarded wood pallets and gouging, burning, and painting layered surfaces.

Monkey Business: Ruben Ubiera at Polk Museum of Art

Ruben Ubiera, Monkey Business, Painted mural, 16' x 24'.

For the first time in its 50 year history, the Polk Museum of Art partnered with an accomplished Florida artist to produce an on-site, large-scale interior mural. Florida artist Ruben Ubiera designed and created a unique mural measuring 16’ x 24’ directly onto one of the Museum’s most prominent walls. The Museum will  remain on view through the end of the year. This is the Museum's first on-site mural project and Ubiera's first major museum commission. 

About the Artist

Given its history of support for accomplished Florida artists, the Polk Museum of Art has chosen to work with Miami artist Ruben Ubiera. A native of the Dominican Republic, Ubiera moved with his family to the Bronx, NY, where he was influenced by the city’s gritty street graffiti. Now working in Miami’s Wynwood Art District, Ubiera contributes to the area’s recent nomination as a capital for sophisticated public street art. Inspired by man’s relationship with the urban environment, Ubiera combines concept and technique with narrative and an old-school essence of graffiti. This new style of street art is often referred to as Postgraffism, or according to Ubiera “urban-pop.” His murals embody a new spirit of urban aesthetic, distanced from the old perceptions of unrefined graffiti. He considers himself one of the “neo-illustrators and designers who are experimenting with new media, but have been influenced by graffiti . . .” He has certainly distinguished himself as belonging to a new generation of street artists. You can learn more about Ruben Ubiera at his website, http://www.urbanpopsoul.com.

Special thanks to the community of supporters who made this project possible through donations to the Museum's Kickstarter campaign.

Roberto Estopiñán, Untitled (Fate), 1967, Ink and graphite on paper, Gift of Carmina Benguria in memory of the artist, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 2017.2.7

Roberto Estopiñán, Untitled (Fate), 1967, Ink and graphite on paper, Gift of Carmina Benguria in memory of the artist, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 2017.2.7

Roberto Estopiñán

April 18 - August 27, 2017

Taxdal Gallery

Born in Cuba in 1921, sculptor, draftsman, and printmaker Roberto Estopiñán is a celebrated artist and considered a pioneer of modern sculpture in Latin American art.

During the 1960s, Estopiñán's work feautured haunting faces and strained forms filled with despair, conveying his preocccupation with, and compassion for, those who have experienced injustice. These artworks in many ways run counter to his later works that focus more on beauty and the exploration of form.

Perhaps the most prevalent subject in Estopiñán's work is the female torso. Beginning in the late 1970s, these abstracted torsos in his work are reminiscent of the elongated, often swollen forms of European sculptors, but include familiar textures of the artist's earlier work. These bone-like, somewhat surreal shapes not only capture the beauty of the torso , but also hint at Estopiñán's struggle to balance texture with the softness of the female form.

Donald Sultan, Morning Glories, 1991, Ink, chalk, graphite on paper, Polk Museum of Art 2007.1, Gift of Clifton and Dolores Wharton © Donald Sultan

Donald Sultan, Morning Glories

Hollis Gallery

January 12 - April 9, 2017

Sultan’s still-life compositions, which range from huge pieces of fruit, vegetables, and eggs to dominos and flowers, dominate the surface of his paintings, drawings, and prints. Their bold forms demand attention by virtue of their medium, color, and size. While his works deal with recognized forms, they simultaneously and successfully combine the representational with the abstract. In Morning Glories, a sense of organic beauty is maintained even as the image is limited to black circles with white centers against a black and white patterned background.

Sultan earned a BFA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973 and an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1975. While still in school, Sultan grew dissatisfied with traditional methods of painting and began experimenting in technique, surface, and media, which eventually led him to use industrial tools and materials. Sultan was one of the first to employ a wide range of industrial tools and materials, particularly tar, in lieu of traditional brushes and paints.

Transcendence: Polk County High School Exhibition

Student Gallery

April 22 - May 21, 2017
Awards Ceremony: Saturday, April 29, 11am

This exhibition features artworks by students grades 9-12 from  Polk County School District high schools.

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


Sponsored by: MIDFLORIDA Credit Union

Continuing Exhibitions

Remojadas Culture, Seated Male Figure, 500-700 CE, Ceramic, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 1983.1.6, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. David Taxdal.

Ancient Art of the Americas

David and Lucia Taxdal Pre-Columbian Gallery

Ancient Art of the Americas, a refocused installation of the Museum’s collection of Pre-Columbian artworks which was completed in December 2000, and updated with recent acquisitions in March 2003, features a comprehensive overview of artifacts from Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Peru. The gallery is divided into two themed rooms. Warriors, Priests, and Rituals presents effigies related to those three categories, including bound prisoners, warriors ready for battle, and priest figures. The second room is arranged geographically, with artifacts grouped according to the current name of the country in which they were found. This arrangement allows visitors to see how cultures that were geographically close influenced each other. This room also contains an archaeology display which explains how scientists uncover and interpret artifacts like those in the gallery.


Sculpture Court

Contemporary works by  by James Bassham, Jane Jaskevich, Fonchen Lord, Carol Brown and Michael Mick are featured in the Museum's permanent outdoor exhibition space.

Material World: A Global Family Portrait

Marks Gallery

The Material World: A Global Family Portrait exhibition is the result of American photojournalist Peter Menzel’s project to help viewers grasp a sense of cross-culture realities and to celebrate our common humanity. Sixteen of the world’s foremost photographers traveled around the world, visiting thirty different countries to live for a week with families that are statistically average for that nation. At the end of each visit, the photographer and subjects collaborated on the Big Picture, a remarkable portrait of the family outside of its home, surrounded by all of its possessions. This exhibition is an attempt to capture through photos and statistics, both the common humanity of the peoples inhabiting our Earth and the great differences in material goods and circumstances that make rich and poor societies.

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

Marks Gallery

For the first time in history, more people are overfed than underfed. And while some people still have barely enough to eat, others overeat to the point of illness. To find out how mealtime is changing in real homes, authors Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio visited families around the world to observe and photograph what they eat during the course of one week. During their project, they sat down to eat with twenty-five families in twenty-one countries.

As Peter and Faith ate and talked with families, they learned firsthand about food consumption around the world and its corresponding causes and effects. The resulting family portraits, which are displayed in this exhibition, offer a glimpse into the cultural similarities and differences served on dinner plates around the globe.

This show joins Material World: A Global Family Portrait in the Marks Gallery to stimulate further thought and discussion about cultural commonalities and differences.

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