The Studio at Gulf and Pine, in Anna Maria, is presenting “Offshore,” the latest paintings of Holmes Beach artist Maro Lorimer, from January 14 through February 3, 2011. Having previously painted intimate beach paths and expansive beaches, Lorimer now has moved her imaginary observation point out to sea for these acrylic paintings on canvas. Her abstract suggestions of unspoiled shorelines and marine wildlife are inspired by the beauty of the Gulf as well as by memories from many years of windsurfing and boating in places ranging from the Outer Banks to New Zealand.
Lorimer already had finished several of these paintings, and given them the name, “Offshore,” when the BP oil well exploded. “It was eerie to me that I had been painting pristine beaches right before our beaches were so threatened by the spreading oil,” Lorimer explains. “I continued painting, with increased appreciation of unspoiled places, which we might have taken more for granted in the past. Every time I saw a sea bird or dolphin last summer, I worried about it, afraid we might lose it if the oil came this far.”
A second, more personal, meaning of the title relates to Lorimer’s painting process in arriving at the final image. This particular canvas originally was filled with white birds, but she eventually decided to eliminate all but one.
The third meaning gets back to Lorimer’s concerns while the BP oil was still uncontrolled. In this regard, “The Last Bird” touches on the haunting possibility of the extinction of species through such disasters.
Along with all residents of Florida’s west coast, Lorimer is relieved that precious local waters and wildlife appear to have been spared this time. But there is keen awareness of the tragedy that occurred in other parts of the Gulf, and of the chance that this area, too, could be affected by future oil spills. For now, celebrating the beauty of the marine environment through these paintings seems like an uplifting and optimistic way to start the new year.
The Studio at Gulf and Pine is owned by former first lady of Florida Rhea Chiles, who has created a surprisingly serene and enchanting gallery, well worth the drive. Located at 10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, the gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 1 to 5. A “Meet the Artist” reception for the “Offshore” exhibit will be held on Saturday, January 22, from 3 to 6. For more information, call 941-778-1906.
Lorimer’s art can be viewed at www.marolorimer.com.