BENJAMIN DIMMITT: REQUIEM FOR A LANDSCAPE
Like many landscape photographers, Benjamin Dimmitt has had a mission to capture beauty, in his case that of his native Florida surroundings. And then he discovered the ecological damage at the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Citrus and Hernando counties, caused by saltwater intrusion. The silver gelatin prints are beautiful and sobering. Where once there was a lush landscape, some areas have become barren zones of dead and dying plant life with ramifications for wildlife living there. The cause could be over-pumping fresh water from the aquifer, rising sea levels due to climate change or a combination. Either way it's not looking good, and Dimmitt has spent more than a year documenting the decline.
"An Unflinching Look" is an exhibition of the project opening Friday with a free reception from 7 to 9 p.m. at Clayton Galleries, 4105 S MacDill Ave., Tampa. Meet the photographer for a free artist talk at 2 p.m. Saturday. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Free. (813) 831-3753. claytongalleries.net.
NEW AT MICHELE TUEGEL: THEO WUJCIK PAINTINGS
We lost a great talent and wonderful person when Theo Wujcik died in 2014. A beloved professor at University of South Florida until his retirement in 2003, he was a master printer, brilliant draftsman and superb painter with a mind constantly on the move for new inspirations, never coasting on those that sold well months earlier. His later work roamed from political and social commentary to tongue-in-cheek ruminations on consumerism and popular culture. He was, not incidentally, a kind man.
Wujcik was a prolific painter who sold well but still left behind a healthy inventory of work. Michele Tuegel will exhibit several that are representative of his range; her small, very cool gallery can't accommodate many of his works, which tend to be large. His widow, Susan Johnson, curated and will be at the gallery, 320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, for a free opening reception and gallery talk from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
A little nudge for Mother's Day, coming up Sunday: Galleries (including Tuegel's) and museum shops abound with creative gifts in many price ranges. Consider them when looking for something unique and special she would probably never indulge in herself. (727) 823-1100. mtcontempo.com.
FLORIDA CRAFTART: MEMBERS' SHOW
The annual show of fine crafts by members of the statewide organization opens Friday with a free reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the gallery, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. This year it's juried by Evelyn Craft Belger, executive director of the Belger Art Center in Kansas City, Mo., who was formerly the much admired leader of the Morean Arts Center. (727) 821-7391. floridacraftart.org.
STUDIO 1212: NEW WORKS
We see so much change in our regional arts scene, it's nice to point to the continuity of Studio 1212. The artist cooperative was founded in 1970 by former students of William Pachner. He is an important painter who, beginning in the early 1950s, divided his time between the Tampa Bay area and Woodstock, N.Y., where the 101-year-old artist now lives full time. As a teacher here, he inspired and influenced several generations of artists. A group of decided to continue on, forming 1212 and limiting it to 30 members.
Many of the original members are gone, replaced by younger ones who continue to gather, paint and critique together. They open the studio to the public on the third Tuesday of each month (coming up May 17) for anyone wanting to discuss their own art with the group.
Saturday is a show of new works inspired by Mother's Day. Meet the artists and enjoy refreshments from 3 to 6 p.m. at Studio 1212, 1405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 446-4566. studio1212.net.