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  1. Visual Arts

'Woke' artists return to Tampa, explore Steven Kenny's surrealist landscapes

Image courtesy of Villalongo Studio LLC © and Susan Inglett Gallery, NYC William Villalongo, Psyche, 2015.  Paintings, video and artist's books from William Villalongo and Mark Thomas Gibson  are included in "Utopias," on display at Gallery 221.
Image courtesy of Villalongo Studio LLC © and Susan Inglett Gallery, NYC William Villalongo, Psyche, 2015. Paintings, video and artist's books from William Villalongo and Mark Thomas Gibson are included in "Utopias," on display at Gallery 221.
Published Jan. 17, 2018

TWO-FER: UTOPIAS AND UNFILTERED

Mark Thomas Gibson and William Villalongo are New York-based artists whose individual work explores the black experience in America, in both historical and personal contexts. Their work was showcased in the powerful but small "Woke" exhibition at the USF Contemporary Art Museum last year, which was shown alongside their brilliantly curated exhibition of historical African-American print media, "Black Pulp." HCC's Gallery 221 is featuring more of their work in the "Utopias" exhibition, which opens Thursday. Through paintings, video and artists' books, themes of perception, social realities and cultural narratives are explored. Their work is incredibly thought provoking, so don't sleep on this show.

Also opening at the gallery is "Unfiltered,e_SDRq featuring Princess Smith's depictions of minority women exploring themes of duality, such as innocence versus deviance. Both exhibits run until March and are part of the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival. The opening reception happens Thursday from 5-7:30 p.m., with an artist's lecture from Smith at 6 p.m. Free. HCC Dale Mabry Campus, 4001 W Tampa Bay Blvd., Tampa. hccfl.edu.

INTERNAL LANDSCAPES: STEVEN KENNY

When Steven Kenny stepped on to the local art scene a few years ago, he was quickly heralded for his contemporary surrealist paintings handled with the touch of a Renaissance painter. See for yourself at his solo exhibition of more than 40 paintings, which opens Sunday at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. Become immersed in his fantastical world, where people, animals and nature exist in true harmony. The exhibition remains on display through April 15. 600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs. $7, $6 seniors, free children/students with ID/ members/active military. Admission is by donation Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. (727) 712-5762. leeparattner.org.

PLAY CURATOR: PICK-A-PIC

In an extremely democratic move, the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, is asking for people to vote Sunday on a new acquisition for its photography collection. Pick-A-Pic will feature three photographs to choose from, selected by Robin O'Dell, curator of the photographic collection. 4-6:30 p.m. 255 Beach Drive NE. Registration is $35 for members of Friends of Photography, $45 for nonmembers; includes museum admission. mfastpete.org.

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