The arts are alive and well and Anna Maria Island. In addition to the frequent arts and crafts fairs, there are wonderful exhibits at the Anna Maria Island Art League in Holmes Beach. Island Gallery West and the Artist’s Guild also have galleries in Holmes Beach. In addition to this, a very fine new gallery has been operating in Anna Maria for a couple of years. Formerly the Bistro at Island’s End, the building has been transformed into The Studio at Gulf and Pine. Owned by Rhea Chiles, the former first lady of Florida, this exquisite center for arts and intellectual pursuits presents art exhibits as well as classes in everything ranging from the game of bridge to lectures about science and philosophy.
One exhibit at the Studio that has received tremendous press coverage is “Beach Paths and Other Paintings by Maro Lorimer .” The opening reception was last Sunday afternoon, on January 17 (2010). After several days of cold rain, the sun came out and many people came out that afternoon, as well, to enjoy the serene setting of the Studio and the beautiful art it holds.
One wing of the main gallery contained eight original collages, each inspired by a particular beach path on Anna Maria Island. In addition to the originals, limited edition signed giclées were available. The artist’s statement explained that the art was a tribute to the wildness of the beach paths that connect the neighborhoods of the island to the beach. The fact that these paths are not manicured is what makes them so appealing.
At this particular reception, the crowd was entertained by the beautiful flute music of islander Suki Janisch. Platters of stuffed grape leaves, pinwheel sandwiches, salami wrapped around basil and cream cheese, fresh veggies and sweets were offered on a buffet table decorated with sea grape leaves.
The feeling of the beach paths is intimate. Once you emerge from the path onto the beach, the feeling is infinite. This is exactly what Maro Lorimer’s other paintings are about: a feeling of vast space, whether it’s on the beach or in other unspoiled natural settings. Some of the paintings are of the beach, Gulf and sky. Others are of tropical vegetation as it might look from above, stretching to a distant beach, water and sky. “Canopy” is a particularly striking painting, with very vivid colors, depicting this kind of view. One of the paintings to draw the most comments was titled “Reflection.” It suggests a beach at night with the moon over the water, reflecting in the shore break.
Anybody who loves the feeling of walking a long a natural path would love the paintings in this exhibit. The show runs
through January 30 extended through February due to popular demand. The Studio at Gulf and Pine is open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 2. Often they are open later in the day, as well, when classes and meetings are underway. For more information, phone The Studio at Gulf and Pine at 778-1906.