At the Dunedin Fine Art Center, two light up pingpong paddles put a spin on relationships with the text-based artwork, "My mother was right about you. Your mother was wrong about me."
Thank Canadian artist Ben Skinner if his turn of a phrase made you chuckle.
There's plenty more to make you smile, wonder and contemplate as the art center presents four new exhibitions by local and international artists.
"Our Gang" premiers in the fine art center's brand-new west wing gallery. Faculty works — giclee prints, watercolors, drawings, oils, acrylics, mixed media, fiber arts, pastels and clay — adorn the freshly painted, mango-colored walls.
As far as the other three galleries go, carefully worded artwork is more or less the underlying theme.
"Word art is relatively trendy right now," said Ken Hannon, associate executive director. "Catherine (Bergmann) has curated this exhibit so that the concepts of words, poetry and art converge. They (the exhibitions) hang together loosely but cohesively."
Your tour includes:
• "Word UP!" A mixed media collection in the Entel Family Gallery that gives a shout-out (sometimes a soft whisper) to the written word. Check out sculptor Leslie Fry's three ceramic pieces titled Changing Hearts created during her recent artist residency at the Kohler Co. in Sheboygan, Wis. She incorporates strong architectural elements in each one, never missing a beat, with droll lines like "Being with you is even better than being alone."
• "In a Dark Time, the Eye Begins to See …" is titled after a poem by Theodore Roethke. This juried all-media exhibit in the Meta B. Brown Gallery was produced by artists who visually interpret a single line from a poem of their choosing. The Ark of Bling, a jewel-encrusted Noah's Ark created by DFAC artist and member Andrea Jarvis, takes center stage. Her inspiration? Song of Myself by Walt Whitman: "I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contained …"
• "The Poetics of Space" is named after Gaston Bachelard's book of the same title. In the Douglas-Whitley Gallery, the focus is on imaginative spaces, such as forests, kitchens, attics and our brains, where people are free to dream, create and invent. Among the thought-provoking artists is Mernet Larsen, who takes all the rules of perspective, proportion and weight and turns them upside down and inside out. Sit at her table with its checkered tablecloth, angular people, and try not to lose your balance.