IN PICTURES: FLORIDA KEYS ARTIST VALERIE PERREAULT OPENS NEW SOLO SHOW TO RAVE REVIEWS

Valerie Perreault stands proudly at her opening reception for her new solo show, “Island Déjà Vu.” TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly

Local artist Valerie Perreault is no stranger to big feelings, bold takes and personal evolution. Just shy of one year after closing her Islamorada studio to focus on the next sector of her art’s expression, she re-emerged in Islamorada for a solo show at Roberto Russell Galleries in Islamorada. Her latest works — 28 hand-painted mosaic collages known as “Island Déjà Vu,” showcase the beauty of her life in the Florida Keys, authentically experienced and beautifully immortalized.

To create in this new medium, the visual artist hand-painted larger sheets of canvas paper, which she then cut into paper “tiles.” These were then arranged and affixed onto a cardboard backer, creating pieces of work as complex, whimsical and joyful as life on these islands often is.

“I feel like the texture and the depth of the piece draws the viewer into the painting, while also feeling fragmented in the way memories can be layered and fragmented,” the artist said of this line of work.

Indeed, with names like “The House With The Carved Wood,” “Learning the Ukulele” and “Cha Cha Cha,” the works are deeply personal to Perreault, while also triggering memories in her viewers. To them, in her artist’s statement, she wrote, “It is my hope that my work washes over you like a poem — that it both informs and delights, while creating a sense of rediscovering a memory, a place or a feeling.”

At her Jan. 12 opening reception, it felt like all of Islamorada was there to greet the artist and her newest expressions. Kaiyo Grill catered, while Leah Sutter accompanied with her music. The gallery bustled with champagne and smiles, memories shared and new ones created.  

Hugs were also overflowing, with collectors, friends, fellow artists and fans coming to share in Perreault’s success and joy. Some have been supporting Perreault since her “popsicle stick” days; about them, she said, “They’ve been following my work from day one, they’ve seen the whole wild journey, and, in a lot of ways, I feel like we are making the path together.”

The show has been extended and will run through Mar. 24. Email Perreault at [email protected] to check out the new pieces.

Tiff Duong is a self-made mermaid who loves all things cheesy (romantic and dairy) and thrives in the 3 am hour. She believes in leaving it all on the field and has never met a (mis)adventure she didn't love.