WHEELING - For some artists, their work is like a journey, an illustration of their life. Wheeling artist George Carey has created art for over five decades, painting, drawing and sculpting - as he interprets his world in locations as diverse as Key West, Florida to our own upper Ohio Valley.
He opens a new exhibit "A Key to the Past, The Art of George Carey" at the Stifel Fine Arts Center on Thursday, July 24.
"The exhibition is a chance to view a portion of Carey's career and includes work that spans everything from his very first painting, done at age 11, to his very latest canvas," explains Director of Exhibitions Brad Johnson. Sponsored by United Bank, Carey's exhibition is part of the Helen B. Gaither Exhibition Season.
displays one of his paintings that shows a scene from a hill that overlooks the Ohio River near Martins Ferry. It is owned by Bill Monahan and is called, 'Walk Softly: 1778.'
Carey is painting right up to opening day and expects to have over 20 pieces in the Stifel show, most never seen before. Many of the pieces are selected from private collections and are on loan for the exhibition.
Carey has acquired an international following among art collectors and galleries. His work is representational in style and often features images of homey neighborhoods, nautical spots and leafy streets from his past. It bursts with color that inspires the viewer with tropical scenes of lush vegetation or nautical delight that draw you into the canvas.
Many of his paintings feature views of old Key West, where he was born and raised - and learned to draw. He recalls his love of doodling at a young age as he sketched in the margins of his schoolwork. He later studied under renowned artist Gerald Leake, a favorite artist of President Harry Truman, who conducted classes at the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West.
A fourth generation Key West native, he currently resides in Wheeling and previously resided in Martins Ferry for a number of years. He still travels back to the South several times a year.
Carey has both natural talent and keen powers of observation that he developed as he worked in a variety of careers, including education and the U.S. Air Force. He went into art full-time in 1985.
Recognition came to Carey when he was chosen five times as a finalist in the prestigious "Arts for the Parks" competition garnering four "Top 100" awards and one "Top Mini 50" award. He was further honored with awards three times at the "Mystic Maritime Invitational Marine Art Exhibition" in Mystic, Conn.
Prior to his entry into art on a full-time basis, Carey spent four years with the Air Force, worked in the auto body and fiberglass fabricating industries and taught auto body and welding at Key West High School where, concurrent with his full-time art career, he was elected teacher of the year in 1988. It was in this last position where Carey and his students created some of the most recognized sculptures in the Key West area including the mascots for several schools and the huge manatee installed on the grounds of the First State Bank.
A consummate professional, Carey works hours and hours on each piece. His work is amazing in detail and looks as though you could step right into it. Throughout his career he has entered many competition shows, a highlight of his career. He is a 16-year member of the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA).
For the first time this year he made it into their annual show and his painting entitled, "Quiet Moment," is now traveling to five different museums across the country over a period of 16 months.
Another first for Carey's art career is that recently, he selected a very talented student and is currently teaching private lessons once a week.
"I'm finding a new joy and fulfillment in my art now that I'm instructing this very talented young artist," he states, explaining just how good his young student is.
Carey is very versatile and has even donated a hand painted chair to the "Take A Seat" auction fundraiser for the Mansion Museum, coming up on Aug. 3. His chair has a beach scene theme, perfect for summer.
Located at 1330 National Road, "A Key to the Past, The Art of George Carey" is displayed in the Hart Galleries of the Stifel Fine Arts Center and will remain open to the public through Aug. 29. The opening reception takes place from 6:30 8:30 p.m., Thursday, July 24. Guests will have a chance to meet Carey and enjoy refreshments at the opening.
Paintings other than those from private collections are for sale and the artist will also have a selection of his limited edition prints available for purchase.
For more information, please call the Stifel information desk at 304-242-7700.