When the call went out for "Man Cave" paintings, Progress Energy Art Gallery received all kinds of submissions: motorcycles, hot rods, hot chicks, beer. And nudes. Lots of nudes.
"They're really good but I had to put a stop to that or else it would have been all nudes," said gallery director Nancy Ciesla as she laid out the submissions for hanging earlier this week.
"Man Cave," an exhibit that came about from the suggestion of local photographer Tim Dahle and artist Fran McLean, launches this evening along with a side exhibit featuring the works of Gulf High School School students.
It's perfect timing, said Ciesla, noting that those who come to tonight's opening can venture out to Greater New Port Richey's Fresh Friday Nights Farmers Market. The exhibit will also coincide nicely with the Cotee River Bike Fest, which kicks off with a party Thursday followed by three days of events in downtown New Port Richey.
"For a long time we've been wanting to do something that goes along with the Bike Fest," Ciesla said. "This seemed like the perfect fit."
Among the works featured is McLean's portrait of actor John Wayne that will be auctioned off. Others include portraits of John Lennon, Sitting Bull and guitar great Stevie Ray Vaughan. There's Man's Best Friend, an aging black Labrador retriever with understanding eyes, appropriately named "Fang"; a railroad landscape painted on a carpenter's saw; a leather-clad female motorcyclist and another woman dancing in a barroom, Coyote Ugly style.
Then there are the chicks: the pale yellow, peeping, feathery kind, all lined up smartly in a row and wearing colorful bikinis. That one, painted specifically for the exhibit and titled Hot Chicks — Hen Pecking Not Allowed, has already been sold.
"I like the play on words," said Chicks artist Rhonda Hancock of Brooksville. "I like to make it fun."