Revival: Paintings by Gabrielle Wu Lee

O Sole Mio! Vires, Artes, Mores - To My Sunshine State

December 13, 2014 – March 14, 2015

Dorothy Jenkins Gallery

The late Chinese-American artist Gabrielle Wu Lee described her paintings as works of “dynamic expressionism.” Her works beautifully meld Eastern traditions and modern Western aesthetics into emotionally charged renderings of the power of nature in transition. To Lee, seasonal change, dusk, dawn, and the rise and fall of the ocean’s tide were all visual signs of cyclical rebirth of our natural environment. The sheer size of her work also emphasizes a sense of sublime meditation. This exhibition will be organized in collaboration with Florida State University and Dr. Paul Lee.

Her Self: Works by Kathy Sosa

Kathy Sosa, Chile Lillies, Huipiles, 2007, 36" x 50", Oil portrait collage

Exhibition organized through Katharine T. Carter & Associates.

December 13, 2014 – March 14, 2015

Gallery II

Inspired by contemporary folk art and the American southwest, Kathy Sosa’s artistic style is characterized by prismatic color combinations and an emphasis on graphic patterns. Although she creates literal portraits of women from various backgrounds, Sosa also includes her painted interpretations of their cognitive and spiritual existences; she presents painted portraits that portray their thoughts, dreams, and aspirations.

Produced In-House: PMoA’s Graphicstudio Collection

October 18, 2014 – February 26, 2015

Perkins Gallery

Abbott Miller & Ellen Lupton, On, Photogravure 16/60, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 1999.23.1, Graphicstudio Subscription Purchase through the Kent Harrison Memorial Acquisition Fund

Founded in 1968, the University of South Florida’s Graphicstudio has earned a reputation among international artists as a place to brainstorm and produce new cutting-edge works of art. As a unique experimental workshop, Graphicstudio collaborates with some of the most respected artists of our time in order to preserve the important link between arts and education. The program has hosted a number of contemporary creative juggernauts, including Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Christian Marclay, among many others. Artworks produced by these artists while in residence at Graphicstudio are ultimately made available in limited series to public and private collections. Polk Museum of Art became a subscribing contributor to Graphicstudio in 1992, thanks to an acquisition fund founded in memory of Kent Harrison, the son of the late philanthropist Lois Cowles Harrison. As a subscribing member, the Museum is given special opportunities to acquire new works produced at Graphicstudio. These artworks hold an important place within the Museum’s Permanent Collection. This exhibition includes only a small portion of the Museum’s Graphicstudio collection and intends to celebrate the achievements made and barriers broken by USF’s important experimental project.

Working Title: A Faculty Exhibition

September 27 – January 24

Murray and Ledger Galleries

Sarah Brewington Baulac, Human, Still, 2014, Digital photograph

Polk Museum of Art is excited and proud to announce its first ever exhibition of works by the accomplished arts faculty at two of Polk County’s prestigious colleges: Florida Southern College and Polk State College. This exhibition will be an opportunity for our audiences to see what these talented artists produce when not in the classroom. It will also offer students from the respective colleges an opportunity to learn from their professors by seeing and understanding their mentors’ more personal creative explorations. Artists will include Pavel Amromin, Sarah Brewington Baulac, Eric Blackmore, Beth Ford, Patricia Lamb, Vicki Lowe, Joe Mitchell, Bill Otremsky, Sam Romero, Holly Scoggins, Kelly Sturhahn, and David Woods.

Future Retro: Drawings from the Great Age of American Automobiles

Design Proposal: Two Door Sports Car, Elia Russinoff, 1953, Colored pencil on black paper, From the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

September 20 – December 6, 2014

Dorothy Jenkins Gallery and Gallery II

This exhibition, comprised of 105 drawings from the collection of Frederick A. Sharf, showcases the beauty and ingenuity of American automotive design during the decades following World War II, a landmark period in car styling. An eclectic mix of illustrations, from preliminary sketches to fully rendered works, provides a rare glimpse into the creative process at some of America’s premier car companies. Dating from an era when speed and power were increasingly important factors in automotive sales, these drawings show reference to the emerging technologies that influenced postwar car design, like airplanes and rockets.

Remembering Florsheim

July 26 – October 12, 2014

Richard Florsheim, Paris (aka La Seine a Paris, 1963, Color lithograph, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 2004.8.14, Gift of the Richard Florsheim Art Fund

Perkins Gallery

Richard Florsheim (1916-1979) was a prominent American printmaker, painter, sculptor, educator and writer. He graduated from the University of Chicago before studying art at the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He completed his formal art training in Paris at the Musee Nationale d’Art Moderne. Florsheim first gained international recognition in the late 1930s after exhibiting his work at such major institutions as the Salon des Refuses in Paris, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Los Angeles County Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Art. He was a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists and the prestigious National Academy of Design. In 2004, the Richard Florsheim Art Fund donated 60 original works by Florsheim to the Permanent Collection at Polk Museum of Art. This exhibition will include a majority of those works and will be the first time in a decade that these works have been on public display.

Collected Color

June 21 – September 13, 2014

Gallery II

Color is an important part of our world. It allows us to visually recognize, relate, and interact with our surroundings. Because of its enormous impact on how we interpret what we see, color has always been an important attribute of art. But, color is not important for art only because it affects what we see; it also affects how we reproduce what we see so that others may share our creative experiences. It was not until the late 19th century that artists began separating color from naturalism, using it in more expressive ways to emphasize emotion or creative formalism. How has the use of color in art changed? Is color still an important creative component? This exhibition examines how color is represented within the Permanent Collection at Polk Museum of Art.

Damien Hirst, Psalm Print, Domine, in Virtue tua, 2010, Screenprint with diamond dust, Purchased through the Art Resource Trust, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 2013.6.1

Terra Incognita: Photographs of America’s Third Coast

June 21-September 13, 2014

Richard Sexton, Ascension, Quadtone pigment print

On loan from the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, La., this exhibition is a photographic project of 15 years’ duration (1991-2006) by nationally recognized photographer and author Richard Sexton. Latin for “unknown land,” Terra Incognita consists of 57 black-and-white photographs of marsh, scrub lands, dunes, beaches, swamps and forests along the Gulf Coast from the mouth of the Mississippi River to the Florida Panhandle. According to R.C. Baker of the Village Voice, “Nothing in these extremely fine-grained prints remotely resembles a ‘snapshot.’ … Sexton’s spare compositions coalesce into a portrait of nature as the ultimate abstractionist.”


Kenny Scharf, Space Travel, 2002, Line-etching and aquatint with spit-bite aquatint, PMoA Permanent Collection 2002.21.4, Gift of Norma Canelas and William D. Roth

May 3 – August 2, 2014

Murray & Ledger Galleries

Ekphrasis is a rhetorical exercise first practiced by the ancient Greeks. Essentially, it is a method of creating a new artwork as directly related to or inspired by an already existing work of art. Ekphrasis often takes the form of prose or poetry. The written piece is not necessarily a mere description of the artwork at hand (although it can be), but is a beautifully written account about the subject of the artwork. It is as if an illustration precedes and inspires the written story. For this exhibition, Polk Museum of Art worked with students at the Lakeland Montessori Middle School. Artworks from the Museum’s Permanent Collection were chosen and assigned to students as inspiration for their own explorations into the ancient art of ekphrasis.

All Decked Out!

April 26, 2014 – July 20, 2014

Perkins Gallery

As part of Innoskate 2014, the exhibition All Decked Out! will celebrate the artistic and innovative spirit of skateboarding. Polk Museum of Art is proud to host an exhibition of contemporary artworks that smack of the edgy aesthetic so often associated with skating. Co-organized by Chad and Suzie Cardoza, two Tampa-based artists and independent curators of all things skate, this exhibition includes a diverse checklist of works by artists from around the country. Painted skate decks, skateboard photography, skate-related sketches, and assembled sculptures will coalesce to provide audiences a renewed glimpse into the unique and creative state of contemporary skateboard culture.

Site Specifics: Dan Gunderson & Barbara Sorensen

March 22-June 7, 2014

Barbara Sorensen

This exhibition will include installations by two Central Florida artists, Dan Gunderson of Deland and Barbara Sorensen of Winter Park. Working collaboratively, these two artists will transform the Museum with their site-specific installations that will provide visitors an opportunity to experience art environments. Gunderson has been a professor of art at Stetson University for more than 35 years. Having spent 30 years almost exclusively in ceramics, his current works visually express his observation of pop culture. Via the medium of iconic movie characters, his work reflects that we are a composite of our experiences. Sorensen is known for monumental sculptural installations that draw on geological formations and classical elements, but she recently turned her energies to large-scale environmental vessels constructed of metals and resins as well as new, experimental mixed-media prints and two-dimensional works. She discovered clay as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin. After completing her degree there, she went on to work with mentors Gunderson, Peter Voulkos, Don Reitz and others who were pushing the medium in fresh, sculptural directions.

For more information on Sorensen and her work, please visit For information on Gunderson and his work, please visit

Dan Gunderson

What’s In a Gesture?

March 1 – April 19, 2014

Perkins Gallery

A painter’s gestural brushwork can be important to convey emotional intensity. To some viewers, a wild lashing stroke of paint may seem like an unkempt act by an untalented artist. Yet actually, such gestural strokes are usually intentional; despite their appearances, these marks are important to the artist’s emotional intent.

The paintings in this exhibition emphasize gesture. Although they are characterized by a similar technique of animated brushwork, their inherent meanings are widely varied.

Stephen Knapp: New Light

December 14-March 8

This exhibition will include 14 “lightpaintings” by Massachusetts artist Stephen Knapp. Knapp’s lightpaintings are created by using cut, shaped and polished pieces of specially coated glass, installed perpendicular to the wall’s surface, to reflect beams of colored light into abstract compositions. These unique works deepen the traditional relationship between the painter and light. They also expand the concept of light sculpture and light art, and they continue the traditions of kinetic art, op art and abstract painting. His sculptural canvases appear to be painted but are all created with light and glass. Lightpaintings are the intersection of painting, sculpture and technology by exploring color, light and space. Knapp has more than 30 years of experience creating installation art and exploring the possibilities of light. His work can be found in museum, public, corporate and private collections.


December 7, 2013 – April 27, 2014

Murray & Ledger Galleries

Home is more than a building of concrete and timber. It is that place where we feel most comfortable and secure. It’s the place we all long to leave, only to wish we could go back. And, more personally, it’s the container of our most cherished treasures and beloved memories. It’s where we feel most confident and less hustled to be something we are not. It’s a sense of belonging. It’s a much needed opportunity to let down our guards. It’s a chance to be open, critical, and uncontested with ourselves. Home is more than a place. It’s a state of mind.

Home can be a powerful subject for artists. As a repository for so many of our intrapersonal traits and a physical reminder of our identities, the idea of home can represent freedom, sentimentality, rawness, and honesty in an artist’s work.

In this exhibition, we select artworks from the Museum’s Permanent Collection that relate to this important sense of home.

Inventing Narratives

November 16, 2013 – February 20, 2014

Perkins Gallery

Storytelling has always been an important part of the human legacy. Through stories handed down from one generation to the next, cultures have been defined, traditions have been established, and histories have been embellished. These stories have often been subjects for many works of art over time. Although paintings or illustrations may pertain to a specific story, it is difficult for us to refrain from applying our own creative interpretations to the story, which may over time become completely transformative to the original story.

Works of art are often open to our unique interpretations, which may or may not relate to an artwork’s intended meaning. Although the stories we create about a work of art may be different from the artist’s original intent, it does not necessary mean we are incorrect in our interpretations. It is only human nature to apply narratives to artworks that we may not understand completely.

This act of creating stories out of unfamiliarity is actually another form of art; although we may not fully understand a work of art, we still rely on our inherent creative abilities to construct some sort of relative narrative.

This exhibition is intended to spark those creative abilities within the viewer. The sole intent here is not to simply explain a work of art to the viewer, but rather to keep the meaning of a work of art hidden from the viewer so that they may create their own narratives.

Paintings of the Space Age

October 12-December 7

Although the National Air and Space Museum is known internationally for its impressive collection of objects and crafts pertaining to America’s history in aviation and space exploration, it is less known for having a collection of artworks. With help from the Smithsonian’s Affiliations Program, the Polk Museum of Art will exhibit a sampling of artworks produced in the 1960s after James Webb, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, suggested that artists be enlisted to document the historic effort to send the first human beings to the moon. Working together, James Dean, a young artist employed by the NASA Public Affairs office, and Dr. H. Lester Cooke, curator of paintings at the National Gallery of Art, created a program that dispatched artists to NASA facilities with an invitation to paint whatever interested them. The result was an extraordinary collection of works of art.

reGeneration2: Tomorrow’s Photographers Today

October 12-December 7

Following the success of the 2005 book and exhibition, which traveled to 10 different cities across North America, Europe and Asia, this second edition, reGeneration2, turns the spotlight on new, up-and-coming talents from 31 countries. Curators at the world-renowned Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland, selected the most promising candidates from some 700 entries submitted by 120 of the world’s top photography schools. The resulting publication and exhibition reveal the flexibility of young photographers as they pass fluidly from one genre to another and/or one technique to another. This exhibition will include 105 photographs by some of the world’s most promising young talents.

This exhibition is produced by the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, in collaboration with the Aperture Foundation, New York, with the support of Pro Helvetia.

Yousuf Karsh Portraits

Yousuf Karsh, General John Pershing, ca. 1945, silver gelatin print, Gift of the Estate of David P. Hauseman

October 12 – December 7, 2013
Hollis Gallery

Susan Cox of Lakeland found the portraits of Winston Churchill and Gen. John Pershing tucked in the bottom dresser drawer in her late father’s home. She recognized the work of photographer Yousuf Karsh, and then found correspondence between Karsh and her father, David P. Hauseman. After consulting with a friend and an art dealer, she found out just how valuable her discovery was.

Cox and her siblings — Debbie Viertel of Lakeland; Carolyn Eng of Orlando; and David Hauseman of Birmingham, Ala.; and Jeanette Merkel of Thousand Oaks, Calif. — donated both photographs, as well as the correspondence authenticating them, to Polk Museum of Art.

The photographs that Cox found were original silver gelatin prints bearing Karsh’s signature. Cox had forgotten that her father had prints by Karsh (1908-2002), an Armenian-Canadian artist who is widely considered one of the most accomplished portrait photographers of all time. Hauseman, while a cadet at West Point, had worked as Karsh’s assistant for a time. In 1945, he helped at the Pershing shoot and, as noted in a Readers’ Digest story on the photo, Hauseman was saluted by Pershing afterward. Apparently Hauseman wrote Karsh and asked for a copy of the photograph, which Karsh sent, along with the Churchill.

Yousuf Karsh, Winston Churchill, 1941, silver gelatin print, Gift of the Estate of David P. Hauseman

Karsh’s iconic photograph of Churchill, titled “The Roaring Lion,” was shot December 30, 1941, immediately after Churchill addressed the Canadian Parliament. Churchill, in a foul mood, stormed into an anteroom and told Karsh he had two minutes to take the photo, Karsh wrote in his book, “Faces of Our Time.” He recalled that he yanked Churchill’s cigar from his mouth, leaving the prime minister scowling, “regarding my camera as he might regard the German enemy.” The photo, which some say is the most reproduced image in history, graced the cover of Life magazine when World War II ended, and it will appear on the Bank of England’s 5-pound note to be issued in 2016.

Both photographs were developed and signed by Karsh himself. They were found still in the original sleeve from Karsh’s studio.

Jackson Walker’s “They Called it La Florida”

October 8-24, 2013

Polk Museum of Art is proud to participate in the statewide celebration of Florida’s 500th anniversary. Beginning October 8, a painting by noted Florida history artist Jackson Walker will be exhibited at Polk Museum of Art. They Called it La Florida is Walker’s rendition of Ponce de Leon’s first landing in Florida on April 2, 1513. The painting will remain on display to the public until it travels to Florida Southern College for Walker’s participation in the college’s Florida Lecture Series on October 24. Preceding his appearance at FSC, Walker will meet with students at Polk Museum of Art to discuss his works as they relate to Florida’s history.

For more than a year, Walker researched, sketched and painted this detailed 3- by 5-foot oil-on-canvas work commemorating Juan Ponce de Leon’s discovery of the coast of Florida. The explorer had convinced the King of Spain he would find the island of Bimini north and west of the islands already discovered in the Caribbean. The expedition left Puerto Rico and on April 2 sighted a shoreline. A landing party of heavily armored men (and dogs) boarded boats and headed for shore. They claimed the seemingly uninhabited land for Spain and named it “La Florida,” not only for the Catholic observance of the “Feast of Flowers” but for the beautiful landscape they saw from shore.

Polk Museum of Art is honored to participate in this celebration of Florida’s initial founding. We acknowledge and thank Dr. Sarah McKay, the Florida House on Capitol Hill and the Juan Ponce de Leon Society for allowing us to be a part of this important commemoration.

Have Lens Will Travel: Photographs by Tom Mack

September 14-November 23, 2013

Lakeland photographer Tom Mack is constantly on the go and never leaves his camera behind. But he is much more than a travel photographer: His photographs are like accompanying illustrations to his life’s story. Mack is passionate about his work and thus is highly prolific as a photographer; clicking the shutter on his camera is as automatic as breathing. His productivity does not allow him to adhere to one photographic style or subject. After culling through literally thousands of photos, these few were chosen to represent Mack’s adventures both geographically and photographically. As a regular at the MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire-by-the-Lake festival, the community has grown fondly familiar with Mack’s photography.