Lennie Bennett, Times Art Critic

Lennie Bennett

Lennie Bennett joined the Times in 1995 as the "On the Town" columnist and also wrote general assignment stories on a variety of topics, including local arts, cultural issues and philanthropy. She became the art critic in 2002. She reviews the visual arts in all forms throughout the Tampa Bay area and, on occasion, nationally. She has also been a regular panelist for various arts organizations.

Phone: (727) 893-8293

Email: lennie@tampabay.com

  1. Mainsail brings 270 artists to Vinoy Park

    Visual Arts

    Mainsail Art Festival, coming Saturday and Sunday to Vinoy Park, needs little introduction after 38 years. In that time, the outdoor festival in a downtown waterfront park in St. Petersburg has brought together thousands of artists and hundreds of thousands of visitors. Some of those visitors have been seasoned collectors; many have been newbies who bought their first piece of art there. Mainsail, like the other excellent outdoor art shows in the region, is a good entry point for those interested in art and fine craft who may have little knowledge of them. Favorite artists who live far away return each year to connect with their fans. And all of the most accessible media are represented, including painting, drawing, photography, ceramics and jewelry. ...

    John Wayne Jackson, sculpture
  2. Berk Fine Art Collective opens in St. Petersburg

    Visual Arts

    Welcome to Berk Fine Art Collective, a new gallery at 10 Fifth St. N in St. Petersburg's Central Arts District. It features painters Tammy Berk, Robert Sutherland, whose work is shown, and Karan Porter, each with an impressive resume. See their work at the gallery from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. (727) 692-5563.

    Image from Berk Fine Art

    Oil on Canvas Original by Robert Sutherland, “Pinellas Girl” at Berk Fine Art Collective in St. Petersburg.
  3. Wyeth painting from Museum of Fine Arts on loan to National Gallery

    Visual Arts

    The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is one of the major museums in the United States. Like all great museums, it organizes most of its shows based on its world-class permanent collection, often augmented by loans from other institutions and private collectors.

    The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg is one of those lenders for a new exhibition opening at the National Gallery on May 4....

    Andrew Wyeth’s Wisteria, 1981, watercolor on paper, is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. It’s now on loan to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., for a prestigious exhibition.
  4. Warhol exhibit extended at Dalí Museum

    Visual Arts

    Andy's sticking around a little longer.

    "Warhol: Art. Fame. Mortality." has been such a popular exhibition at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, its stay has been extended for five weeks. Scheduled to close on April 27, the exhibition will instead remain through June 1.

    Warhol (1928-1987) is probably the most famous American artist of the 20th century and was the star of the Pop Art Movement, which featured appropriated images and sleek surfaces. ...

  5. St. Pete ArtWalk keeps growing

    Visual Arts

    The temperatures and humidity are still dandy for outdoor art events, especially in the evenings. So while the good weather lasts, clear your calendar for the April Second Saturday ArtWalk in St. Petersburg. With almost 40 varied venues (mostly galleries, mostly free) in five designated arts districts, it has become a major monthly event in St. Petersburg, spreading from the downtown west to 30th Street and south to Ninth Avenue. ...

    Five Deuces Galleria is one of the newest arrivals on the local art scene, at 222 22nd St. S. The complex is a series of old buildings charmingly renovated into the gallery and artists’ studios. The gallery features paintings by Jim Corp, including this one. It looks like a forest but is actually an extreme closeup of a broom’s bristles. Right across from it is 3 Daughters Brewery and Tasting Room. 
  6. Machines that spring from da Vinci's designs

    Visual Arts

    Happy Birthday on April 15, Leonardo da Vinci! The great painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer was born in 1452. Leonardo was the original Renaissance man. As an inventor, he dreamed big, and many of his designs were prescient of inventions centuries later, including the helicopter. "Da Vinci Machines" at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, 1005 First Ave. W, features 60 machines, handcrafted by Italian craftsmen from da Vinci's designs. Shown is a glider. It continues through July 7. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $15.95, $13.95 for seniors and military with ID and $11.95 for children 4 to 14. Under 4 free. discoverdavinci.com. ...

    The “Da Vinci Machines” exhibition is at Bradenton Municipal Auditorium through July 7.
  7. Review: Labauvie sculptures at Leepa-Rattner just look simple

    Visual Arts


    Art isn't well served in reproductions. You generally get what it looks like but not what it is. Subtle and/or dimensional art suffers the most.

    Dominique Labauvie's sculpture is an example. It looks so simple, too simple, in photographs. It isn't. To understand why, you have to walk around the pieces. At every stop, you see them differently. Look up close and you see the texture of the metal, the seams created when forms are attached to each other. You compare the roughness of the material with the sleek elegance wrought from rigorous editing. You follow the line, which is everything in these works....

    Campus Stellae (2013) is one of three recent Dominique Labauvie sculptures on display.
  8. Review: Wedgwood show at Plant Museum is craft of highest order

    Visual Arts


    I thought I knew Wedgwood: the elegant jasperware with a matte-colored background (most famously blue), decorated with bas-relief flora and fauna, or the pretty bone china dinnerware.

    Turns out I have a lot more to learn after a visit to "The Pottery of Wedgwood" at the Henry B. Plant Museum. The special exhibition is small, with about 70 pieces, mostly from the 19th century, but it has a wide range of styles and techniques, demonstrating that Wedgwood defies categorization. ...

    Emile Aubert-Lessore was a respected artist, hired to create paintings on Wedgwood creamware in the 19th century. He was one of the few artists allowed to sign his name.
  9. Janos Enyedi's 'Images of Industry' exhibit opens in Sarasota

    Visual Arts

    In any context, the artist Janos Enyedi died too soon. That he died suddenly in 2011 at 63, just six months after moving to St. Petersburg, increases the loss. In that short time, he was already a wonderful presence in the arts community.

    But he created a lot of good art during his lifetime and a retrospective of his career can be seen in "Janos Enyedi: Images of Industry" at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art. Roy Slade, former director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Cranbrook Art Museum, knew Enyedi as a student; he co-curated it with his widow Diana. A free opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday....

    Janos Enyedi, Port of Virginia, 2005, digital print.
  10. 'Site Specific' at Polk Museum features Central Florida artists

    Visual Arts

    The Polk Museum of Art's current show, "Site Specific," features Dan Gunderson and Barbara Sorensen, two Central Florida "environmental" artists, meaning they often create environments within galleries, though visually their work is quite different. Among Gunderson's recent work are kaleidoscopic assemblages of small toys such as one show here. Sorensen takes an earthy, organic approach. See the exhibition at the museum, 800 E Palmetto St., Lakeland, through June 7. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 adults, $4 seniors and free for children and students with ID. polkmuseumofart.org or (863) 688-7743....

     Barbara Sorensen, “Topographies Installation,” 2007, includes “Boat Installation” in the background (stoneware and stones) and “Foothills Installation” in the foreground (stoneware, video and sound).
  11. Chihuly Collection gets larger gift shop in new director's renovation

    Visual Arts

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Chihuly Collection, starring Dale Chihuly's dramatic glass installations, has been a big arts destination since it opened in 2010 on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg.

    Soon, it will have a larger draw thanks to help from a Chihuly expert. Reconfigured space has been turned into a new 800-square-foot gallery for special exhibitions and a 2,500-square-foot gift shop. ...

  12. Florida Craftsmen to auction fine craft art online

    Visual Arts

    Live auctions are common in the art world but Florida Craftsmen has one that doesn't require a paddle or your presence. • Now, and through April 4, 12 excellent examples of fine craft are offered up in an online auction, the 21st century version of the traditional silent auction. These crave-worthy works are in traditional craft media — fiber, wood, ceramics, glass and jewelry — created by stellar Florida craftsmen....

    A turned wood vessel by John Mascoll is open for bids.
  13. Picasso show at the Dalí the first of its kind

    Visual Arts

    ST. PETERSBURG — "Picasso/Dalí, Dalí/Picasso" at the Dalí Museum will be the first exhibition in the world that allows a direct comparison between two of the 20th century's greatest artists. That most of the 75 works will be paintings, many from prestigious lenders, will make it both a huge visitor draw and a scholarly show. Some have never traveled to the United States.

    The show, opening Nov. 8, will examine rare new territory in the careers of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Picasso (1881–1973) and Dalí (1904-1989) first met in 1926 in Paris when the latter was in his early 20s and star-struck by the famous, older artist Picasso....

    Femme dans un fauteuil rouge, 1929, oil on canvas
  14. It's all in the family at Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

    Visual Arts

    David Hilliard's photographs are an open-ended memoir of sorts. They're usually portraits of family and friends in narrative settings that suggest, but don't explain, the relationship dynamics. Usually printed as triptychs, they have a sense of familiarity and an air of mystery. See a selection of them, including Hope, shown, at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, 400 N Ashley Drive, Tampa, through May 18. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours Friday to 8 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. $10 adults, $8 students with ID. fmopa.org or (813)221-2222....

    David Hilliard, Hope, 2008. Pigment print mounted on aluminum.
  15. It's official: Picasso exhibit coming to Dali

    Pop Culture


    Picasso at the Dalí Museum is official: "Picasso/Dalí, Dalí/Picasso" will come to the museum from Nov. 8 through Feb. 16 and then continue to its only other venue, the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, Spain.

    At a cocktail reception for national media in New York on Thursday, Hank Hine, director of the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, and Bernardo Laniado-Romero, director of the Museu Picasso, made the announcement in collaboration with the Fundacio Gala-Salvador Dalí....

    Spanish-born artist Pablo Picasso was on friendly terms with Salvador Dalí, though not close.