Artist Rick Worth is old school: he works to live and lives to work. He takes being an artist seriously but doesn’t take himself too seriously, and that is probably the reason he is one of the most talented and loved painters in Key West. For decades, Worth has decorated the city with murals, art cars, theater backdrops, parade floats and hundreds of paintings, claiming all of Key West as his gallery.“I can’t go down the street without seeing a painting,” he said. Worth’s next show, “Sights Unseen: New Paintings,” opens at The Studios Of Key West on Thursday, May 3, and, as always, is a new spin on some of his favorite subjects.
“If I have done it correctly, then I have elevated something or someone with my painting,” said Worth. Attracted to the landscape and architecture of Key West, he uses his paintings to chronicle the genuine character of the Keys. Reminiscent of the great American artist Edward Hopper, Worth uses that inspiration and translates it with an impressionistic touch creating intimate portraits of Key West. With basic house paint, he manages to manipulate both the materials and the image into an extraordinary scene filled with bold perspectives and dramatic lighting. As he says, “Have to let people know it’s the brush doing the work. It’s cool to get right up and see the paint strokes and then pull back and see the whole picture.”
“Mostly it’s about the play of light and capturing the history of feeling you get here. We are all trying to find out the most important part of paradise,” said Worth. His latest works, around 13 in total, are bigger than usual, meant for larger walls and public spaces. “I love public spaces, and these are the paintings that should be showcased to draw people in because they are beautiful to look at,” said Worth. From landscapes of mangroves to street scenes, Worth plays with both day and night – and hurricane damage. Having stayed for Irma, he became fascinated with the abstract nature of fallen trees and flooding, just as much a part of history as the architecture.
“I love perspective, finding the dramatic in what’s up close and what’s far away.” —Rick Worth.
“You don’t have to scratch your head to enjoy my work,” said Worth. “I’m starving as a mother-@#*@#, but I am tired of that part of the world infringing on the arts. I am not afraid to be myself but I also know it takes a community to raise an artist. I know when to bend.” Also a popular teacher, Worth blames his art class for the sense of freedom they give him. “I quit drinking, I quit cigarettes, I even quit karaoke, but this, I can’t quit this.” When not painting, Worth is cultivating his backyard into a beautiful garden – a new hobby – and “learning how to kill things.” Go to www.tskw.org for more information.
SIGHTS UNSEEN: NEW PAINTINGS
On view May 3-31, 2018
Opening reception May 3, 6-8 p.m.
The Studios Of Key West
533 Eaton St.