Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions.

More than a view through children's eyes, the photographs on display as part of Palm Beach Photographic Centre's "Picture My World" program offer a look at our community — the people and the places. The exhibit is the result of the program's goal to use photography and digital imaging as means to develop self-esteem, nonviolent expression, responsibility, and community in underprivileged and at-risk youth. For student photography, the exhibit is a strong one, particularly the "An All-American Town: Our Lake Worth" portion, where kids of Guatemalan Maya parents visually explore the neighborhood. The kids chose eclectic subjects for their photos. Of course, there are family members, but there are also shots of strangers: a man getting his hair cut at the vintage barber shop, a postman in front of the chocolate shop, ROTC members marching in a parade, an elderly couple holding hands ankle deep in the surf. Then there are the series like Madonna busts on an antiques store shelf and a display of burritos for sale at a local market. Some kids even successfully experiment with foreground elements and reflected images. Deserving special note are the images of 10-year old Omar Andres, who has a natural talent for the art. In one photo, he captures the sun spilling through palm branches, the light shooting from the center so that its beams resemble the blades of the palms. In another, he shoots the interior of a market through its window so that the foreground elements become abstract, geometric squares, contrasting nicely with the realism offered by the shoppers who tend to business unaware of the camera. (Through August 5 at Palm Beach Photographic Centre, 555 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-276-9797.)

Now on Display

Think of it as the kind of porn you can enjoy with the whole family. "Botanical Angels" captures 30 sexy orchids, their petals spread, lips inviting fertilization — you'll even find one that is bearded. Wowza! Where you might feel like a debauchee studying the beautifully rendered anatomy in an exhibit of human nudes, here you can leer at the curves and recesses without arousing anyone's suspicions that you are, indeed, a perv. It's no surprise that Tom Kuligowski began his career working with nudes. The same sensuality that he captured then —when he was working with black-and-white infrared film — he brings to these digitally enhanced, color images. This Pompano Beach photographer's approach results in images that have a painterly quality to them. Lavender Lip, a view straight up the lip and into the orchid's reproductive organs, for instance, has a smudgy effect that makes it appear as if it were created in oil pastels, its vivid purple, blue, and yellow blossom contrasting against the black background. Using macro photography, the images are life-sized or larger-than-life, providing a more intimate view of these flowers than you could get from burying your face in the blossoms. The exhibit is displayed in the American Orchid Society's main atrium on a series of panels set up in maze fashion; later, you can see many of these flowers in the flesh on a stroll through the gardens. (Through June 24 at the American Orchid Society, 16700 AOS Ln., Delray Beach. Call 561-404-2000.)

A golden Buddha reverently holds a giant phallus before him like a censer of incense. It's the central image of Los Angeles artist Jamie Adams' triptych (each a 12-inch encaustic oil on linen) Big Sur. With a playful juxtaposition, Adams' work not only holds the penis in high regard but puts it at the center of things — the flanking images are a seascape and skyscape, to the left and right, respectively. The first in a series of three summer exhibitions, Mulry Fine Art presents "A Group Show of Landscapes" featuring painting, sculpture, and photography from the gallery's stable of artists. For the show, gallery directors — sisters Fecia and Meghan Mulry — have interpreted the landscape theme as creatively as the artists have rendered them, so don't expect to see a bunch of realistic fields and meadows. Even the photographs have a painterly quality to them. Wheaton Mahoney's Sweet Pea, for instance, a giant, digitally manipulated close-up of a white-and-pink flower, is reminiscent of one of Georgia O'Keeffe's blossoms. Likewise, Celia Pearson's photographs capture their subjects in larger-than-life close-ups; however, the artist's method is a traditional one as she explores light and depth within the image as they capture their subjects: Stem Leaf and Bromeliad. Others, like Robin Kahn's "State of the Art" series, take greater liberty with the theme. The New York artist uses a found image (perhaps originally a woodcut or linocut) of a forest-lined river as the backdrop for her cartoon of a woman balancing a man overhead with one arm. (Through June 30 at Mulry Fine Art, 3300 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. Call 561-228-1006.)

 
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