Hues of home inspire newest gallery
By Gabriel Sanchez
The opening of Roberto Russell Galleries is special for the virtuoso at the heart of the Upper Keys art renaissance.
“The culmination of everything I’ve learned throughout the years from artists, mentors, and my experiences had a role in the opening of what I consider my dream gallery,” said Roberto “Pasta” Pantaleo, who co-founded the gallery. His partner Russell Post is in real estate and his name is also on the door at the adjoining Sotheby’s International Realty.
Originals from sculptor Geoffrey Smith and artist Ruth Langs have been on display since the gallery’s grand opening on April 8 — the gallery features a rotating cast of talented artists. The goal of the Roberto Russell Gallery, Pantaleo said, is to have guests ask questions about the originals, learn about the artists on display, and foster an appreciation for local talent and creation.
“Islamorada reminds me a lot of the fishing villages of Italy, both have the same passion and zest you’d expect from a place where people love life. In the same token, I wanted to build something for the public to come and enjoy,” Pantaleo said.
“Guests love the new art and sculptures. They’ve also commented on how different the work is compared to what’s hanging in Pasta’s Signature Gallery,” said Fabrienne Lovelace, referencing Pantaleo’s original gallery which is still open across the highway from Pierre’s. “Pasta’s work has evolved, but it still has that singature vintage look.”
Roberto Russell Galleries aim to become a premiere location for the Upper Keys art enthusiast. The simple and elegant layout of the gallery provides the perfect canvas or the artwork on display, creating an authentic European feel to its presentation. Pantaleo said the elegant ambiance is intentional.
“I wanted to have a more formal atmosphere as opposed to the ‘Pasta’ flavor that everyone is accustomed to. That is the reason I opened it under the name Roberto, to indicate the Italian feel I want to convey. When Russell Post came to me with the idea for the space and gave me the free range I needed to create, I was excited.”
The Robert Russel Galleries (81888 Overseas Hwy.) and Pasta Pantaleo’s Signature gallery (81599 Old Hwy.) are located with a mile of one another in Islamorada. The public is encouraged to visit.