It’s been just short of a year since entrepreneur and painter Deserie Valloreo opened DRV Fine Art Studios & Gallery in Gulfport, at the corner of 54th Street South and Gulfport Boulevard. After a booming first year, followed by a summer hiatus to regroup and plan for the coming season, her assessment is clear.
“I couldn’t have picked a better place,” she says.
New Artists Featured
The Gallery, which aims to provide a space where artists can connect with art enthusiasts and collectors, now hosts three studio spaces and showcases the work of 10 Florida artists (including Valloreo). Two artists — fiber painter Dawn Waters and abstract painter and sculptor Rebecca Skelton — will expand the gallery’s repertoire this season.
Ambling down the aisles on DRV’s opening day last week, I found myself intrigued by Skelton’s painting, “Watched and Whispered,” which juxtaposes two seated nudes surrounded by eerily disembodied eyes, lips, and hands. In warm copper tones, the image offered a striking statement about vulnerability, whether under the gaze of others, or under our own unrelenting self-scrutiny.
Waters, on the other hand, specializes in portraiture. With fiber, she forms gently dimensional felted faces and hyperrealistic hair textures to create subjects that hold your gaze and pull you inward. It was all I could do, in fact, to keep my 7-year old son from trying to pet the kitten that a felted Johnny Cash was snuggling in Waters’s portrait “Cash Is King.”
The Exhibiting Society of Artists (TESA) Exhibition
DRV Gallery will also host its first show of the season, featuring work from members of The Exhibiting Society of Artists (TESA). Fifteen artists will be represented in media as varied as watercolor, photography, and digital painting. In a press release from DRV Gallery, Valloreo explains, “The TESA exhibition is an ideal way for me to introduce our gallery community to the works of arists they may not have experienced before.”
The TESA exhibition will open with a reception on Thursday, Sept. 28th, from 6-8 p.m. at DRV Gallery. The show runs through Oct. 21.
Can I Get Your Autograph?
And that’s only the start of a season that will, Valloreo says, include a new art show, an art class, and a concert at the gallery each month. Getting all that planned has taken some effort.
“It’s been a busy summer,” she quips.
But the Gulfport community, she avows, has been supportive. A little more than a year ago, she recalls, she was still staffing a booth at the Gulfport Tuesday Market while also preparing to open DRV. One morning, her Gulfport customers kept showing up with their copies of that week’s The Gabber Newspaper — the one that featured a story about the soon-to-open gallery.
“The wanted me to sign them,” she beams.