For one night only, on Feb. 13, the multidisciplinary art space in Delray Beach known as Arts Garage will become Gallery Arts Garage, replacing its lounge-style chairs and live jazz for divider walls and large paintings.
The grand opening of Arts Garage's first art gallery next Thursday will coincide with the debut of the exhibit "Vangelis Andriotakis: From Greece With Love," a series of 34 photorealistic and impressionist nature paintings by the 61-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident. Curating the gallery is Arts Garage's new visual arts director, Kahl Wilfert, who wants the initial exhibitions to focus on local artists.
"I'm testing the waters with South Florida artists and bridging the gap between here and Wynwood," says the 32-year-old Boca Raton resident, who graduated from FAU with a degree in painting. "I'm really excited about where Delray's going as far as its potential for fine art. The gallery is not just a show space, but a place where buyers can collect art that pushes the envelope."
Morphing the Arts Garage into an art gallery demanded little renovation to the Northwest First Street-facing storefront, says Wilfert, a part-time independent contractor who began working with the venue in November. The building's rectangular foyer serves as the gallery on regular nights, but during the bimonthly opening receptions, the art display will expand to Arts Garage's 2,660-square-foot performance area, with large-format paintings wrapping around the far walls and divider panels set up around the empty space. After every reception, Wilfert says he plans to post images of the entire exhibition on the Arts Garage's website to better attract visitors to the downtown hub.
Wilfert, a private art consultant who was sought out by Arts Garage director Alyona Ushe and Kathleen Holmes, wife of artistic director Lou Tyrrell, says he has followed Andriotakis' work for several years. The Crete-born artist, who lost his ability to paint after a stroke two years ago, mounts large-scale works of flowers, typically in cropped close-up, as well as multicolored marbles and Mardi Gras performers in Venetian masks.
"He's one of the most passionate artists I've ever met," Wilfert says. "He usually paints large-scale and cycles from impressionism to photorealism. He can do it all. He likes to show you every blotch and stroke that goes into the composition. I like to think he goes into the soul of the flower."
In Andriotakis' "Color Expression Study," the artist depicts a woman's face with a series of impressionist-style brushstrokes, while in his photorealistic painting "Destination — A Study," butterflies flank a tree branch.
A portion of proceeds from sales during the "From Greece With Love" reception will benefit the American Heart Association's annual Heart and Stroke Ball in Boca Raton, to which Andriotakis will also donate one of his paintings, titled "The Mystery of the Pearl."
"We were very for it, because my husband had the stroke, and the stroke was from a heart condition, and it just seemed right," says Ioanna Andriotakis, Vangelis' wife, who operates the artist's studio in Wilton Manors.
Vangelis Andriotakis: From Greece With Love
When: Thursday, Feb. 13, through March 26 (opening reception: 7-9 p.m. Thursday)
Where: Gallery Arts Garage, 180 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach
Cost: Free, reception includes complimentary wine
Contact: 561-512-5354 or ArtsGarage.org