DUNEDIN — For a unique Halloween treat, head to the Dunedin Fine Art Center, where they're passing out eye candy — some of it's sweet, some of it's dark and slightly twisted.
From the humorous to the bizarre, the exhibit "Beauty and the Beasts" is a gallery full of sculptures, paintings and mixed media that, whether intentional or not, celebrates the spirit of All Hallows' Eve.
The free exhibition, part of the center's WILD presentation, runs through Dec. 23.
In her artist's statement, Magdalene Gluszek notes her glassy-eyed figurines may initially appear sweet and frivolous, but "have the potential to cause physical and psychological discomfort."
Perhaps the best example is seen in her sculpture Keeping It Together, where she melds the head of a rabbit with a human body and surrounds it with childlike maypoles and flowers. But this is a bad bunny, its calm, nonchalant gaze belying the fact that its hands, wrists and elbows are bloodied.
Nearby, Gluszek's piece Accountability features a pair of inflatable pool toys — a dragon and a unicorn — chomping at each other's necks with razor sharp teeth while the humans floating inside appear to be napping.
Ken Hannon, vice president of the art center, speculated Gluszek was making a statement about the human condition.
"Perhaps she is commenting on all the violence going on and how unaware we are as we exist in our own little worlds," he said.
Other artists have repurposed found artifacts to make their declarations. Ponder DemiGod's large cloven hoof on a pedestal or her prostheticlike hanging piece made of bones, shells, hardware and a rusted hook.
Then there are the mind-bogglers such as the giant winding dragon painted with a single pulsating stroke by Japanese artist Keisuke Teshima. And one has to wonder how Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide managed to get eight iguanas to pose on a woman's head.
Those with little ones will want to visit the WILD Things exhibit at the David L. Mason Children's Art Museum featuring a tamer menagerie of creatures such as a winged giraffe and a spotted octopus.
Completing the WILD presentation, conservation photographer Carlton Ward Jr. shares his stunning photos of Florida's natural landscapes captured along the Florida Wildlife Corridor and beyond.
Reach Terri Bryce Reeves at firstname.lastname@example.org.