Reimagining Key West and the surrounding islands is like trying to grow the very best mangos, breed a canary that sings the sweetest song or create the most beautiful garden. Yet every day someone is working in their garden or studio, doing just that. This summer was wet and supplied artist Peter Vey with new scenery and gardens bursting with color. Artists can just use their imagination to create a more exquisite reality, to use creative license.
Long a devotee of Key West and Ballast Key, Vey has taken a look at the post-Irma Key West and the new David Wolkowsky Key with fresh eyes and a new palette. “The days of Styrofoam fishing floats littering the beach are gone,” Vey explains “The Nature Conservancy cleans all of the plastic waste daily and Hurricane Irma and sea rise have left a new configuration to the east side. Where the beaches grew, a new cove exists. And it is green! The summer rains left Key West and David Wolkowsky Key verdant and exciting to paint.”
How does Vey manage to evoke this sense of beauty and mystery in his work, regardless of the subject? Often, Gallery on Greene Director Nance Frank explains, by creating a tightly cropped composition that suggests more action is taking place outside the picture plane, as in “Paradise Found,” or by including people who are looking at something that is invisible to the viewer, as in “Women with Flamingo.”
“I like to imagine the beautiful, stately homes of Southard and Eaton Streets before the high fences, when children could run through back yards to school, before the iguanas appropriated the dinner plate-sized colorful hibiscus blooms and myriad orchids,” relates Vey.
This year, Vey has painted grand homes on Caroline and Fleming streets, tiny cigar makers’ abodes in Gato Village and lots of his ethereal mangrove and coconut beachy linen canvases. “Caroline Color” is a home, practically unrecognizable without its fence.
To celebrate “Reimagining the Tropics,” Gallery on Greene will host a reception on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 5-8 p.m. For more information, call Gallery on Greene at 305-304-2323. ¦