Artists interpret ! at Mize, self-portraits at the MFA and Wearable Art returns

Gallery owner Chad Mize gave artists the theme to interpret, and you can bet the results will be as varied as the symbol itself.
Published August 22 2018
Updated August 23 2018

Loaded Symbol: !!!!

If !!!! as the title of the newest show at the Mize gallery seems cryptic, think about the many uses and meanings of the exclamation point. It can express surprise, outrage or excitement. It’s emphatic, which serves well for protest. Posts on social media are loaded with the punctuation mark, where new outrages are aired out daily. Gallery owner Chad Mize gave artists the theme to interpret, and you can bet the results will be as varied as the symbol itself. The roster is an impressive one, including Bask, Palehorse, Frank Strunk, III, Bekky Beukes, Yoko Nogami and photographer Xina Scuderi, whose pictured image of dead fish washed up on the beach is something we’re all !!!! about right now. The free opening reception is 6-10 p.m. Friday at 689 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 251-8529.

Self-Portraits: This Is Not a Selfie

Since smartphones gave everyone the ability to easily capture images of themselves, selfies have taken over society so much that they can actually make people Internet famous. But the act of self-portraiture is certainly nothing new, and is explored in the Museum of Fine Art’s new exhibit "This Is Not a Selfie: Photographic Self-Portraits From the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection," opening Saturday. Most selfies are about capturing your best angle, while self-portraiture delves into self-reflection and identity. The exhibit features more than 80 self-portraits of acclaimed photographers from the 20th and 21st centuries, including Cindy Sherman, Alfred Stieglitz and Yasumasa Morimura, whose 2001 piece An Inner Dialogue With Frida Kahlo (Collar of Thorns), is pictured. Remains on display through Nov. 25. 255 Beach Drive, NE, St. Petersburg. $20, $15 seniors/military/students, $10 ages 7-17, 6 and younger free. (727) 896-2667.

Creative Crossover: Wearable Art 14

True story: Last year was the first time I’d ever attended the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s Wearable Art fashion event, and I was floored by the highly imaginative, in many cases high-fashion, artistic creations that came down the runway. I was particularly taken by Irina Bilka’s dresses made from synthetic hair, which sounds creepy, but is extremely cool. (Impressive side note: Bilka is the designer, model, stylist and makeup artist in this image.) Bilka returns to the event this year, along with other past favorites Melissa Dolce and Lina Teixeira. It’s back Saturday, with Pre-Glow and After-Glow parties bookending the runway show. There’s also a special exhibit of artist-decorated fans in conjunction with the event, as well as live music from the Lint Rollers. Tickets for seats for the runway show range from $60-$125, but there’s a special party ticket for $15, which includes the pre and post parties and the ability to view the runway show on a huge monitor. Pre-Glow starts at 7 p.m., runway at 8 p.m. 1143 Michigan Blvd. (727) 298-3322.