Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Art, Frank Lloyd Wright and Alligator

Sheryl and I went into Lakeland again yesterday afternoon. First off was the Polk Museum of Art. Haha, we got there 10 minutes before closing but the lady at the desk kindly let us in for free for a quick look around. There were a couple of very interesting exhibits. The Pre-Columbian artefacts were a good place to start. Reminded me of my youth when I wanted to be an archaeologist. Then we looked at the main feature - a collection of artworks by a black American artist, Lois M Jones. Quite fascinating. The pieces covered a 60 year period from the 1930s to the 1990s and included a range of styles and subject matter: water colours, acrylics, abstracts, landscapes, portraits, etc. Talented woman. The third exhibit we looked at was a collection of photographs - each one was of a family from a different country. Each family had their possessions spread out, outside their home, with an accompanying piece of text telling of their most prized possession and their hopes for the future. The contrast between the haves and the have-nots was startling. Some families were dwarfed by their material assets, some had very little at all. Hopes for the future ranged from "more income", "new car" "new VCR and TV" to "to survive". The photos weren't credited and if there was an explanation of the project then we missed it. I think they were all taken in the 1980s though. Very moving.
From there we headed to the Florida Southern College which has the biggest collection of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Pretty much the whole college consists of his buildings. I can't say that I'm really a fan but the few buildings I saw were interesting. One in particular, a chapel, reminded me very much of Central American indigenous themes - it made me think of the masks worn by the Aztecs or Mayans (I'm not sure which I mean now) in the shapes and lines he'd used. I'll post the photo later and hopefully what I'm trying to say will make more sense then.
There were plenty more buildings to see but I was beginning to really struggle in the relentless heat so we went off to find some air-conditioning! Had dinner in Fred's Southern Kitchen and I have to say that sadly I'm not really a fan of southern food. Too much fried this and that for me.
Then, off to Lake Parker, one of the 14 or so lakes in town. The lakes are Sheryl's "happy place" - she's an excellent bird photographer (in case you didn't already know that :)). I finally got to give the new 70-200mm lens a decent workout. Saw herons, egrets, anhingas, moorhens, ospreys, a raccoon and an alligator! It was only a baby though, maybe 4 foot long. Still, I got a couple of cool shots of it so I was happy :) It was stalking a young moorhen - when we left it was patiently watching, just snout and eyes above the water, waiting for its chance.

Today we're off to Daytona for a couple of days. Looking forward to that :)


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