Merrick House social features works by Gables artist Virginia Ferrara
Virginia Ferrara, longtime Coral Gables resident and artist, recently exhibited her paintings themed “By Day and By Night,” a series exploring labor and lazing by day and dance scene images by night, at the Merrick House, as part of Sunday on the Porch with George.
The Nov. 18 exhibit featured more than 30 paintings of Coral Gables and local scenes by day – swimmers at the Venetian Pool, workers and gardeners at task, children congregating at the pool – and by night, showing sensual, rhythmic salsa dancers.
The artist, a resident of Florida for more than 20 years, says that her work is inspired by her Coral Gables neighborhood and the richness of the light.
“The imagery is taken from my direct daily encounters, scenes around my neighborhood in Coral Gables, gardeners, workers and swimmers by day and dancers by night,” she said. “I never cease to appreciate the therapeutic effect the warmth derived from the tropical sun has on people’s daily routines.”
Ms. Ferrera explained that in the night scenes, in contrast with the daylight series, she emphasizes the effects that artificial night lights have on subjects, combined with the “seductive environments in the edgy backdrop of night.”
An accomplished salsa dancer who has taken lessons for the past three years, she has participated on several dance performance teams and achieved the highest level of training classes.
“My focus is the uniqueness of any given point in time, affected by the light source, textures and environmental influences,” she said. “The images are intentionally painted slightly out of focus, acknowledging the reality of constant evolution of one moment to the next. The Afro-Cuban music inspires rhythmical gestural brushstrokes that are incorporated into my night series.”
Originally from Grosse Point, Mich., Ms. Ferrara graduated from Western Michigan University (BFA) and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York (MFA). She lived in New York for 13 years, working as an art director and designer, and launched her painting career there. Ferrara married Alan Twaits and they moved to Coral Gables, where they have raised their three children.
Ted Arison, founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, commissioned Ms. Ferrara to produce 42 original silkscreen editions and numerous original murals to fill cabins and public spaces of five Carnival ships. She was also commissioned to do a public mural for Premier Cruise Lines’ The Big Boat.
Her work has been exhibited throughout Florida and New York, and she is currently represented by Blu Gallery in Three Oaks, Mich. Her website is virginiaferrara.com.