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Mel Meo exhibition to open at Pine Bay Gallery

January 17, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

This Saturday, Jan. 20, from 4-8 p.m., Bert's Pine Bay Gallery in Matlacha will present Pine Island's beloved "outsider" artist Mel Meo in her newest endeavor: "Authentic Pine Island."

The show will feature a host of new work spotlighting the best things about being a Pine Islander, including new original paintings, new original painted license plates, raffles and Meo's own authentic food, complimented by a bit of refreshment from Bert's Bar.

Meo's family is originally from Indianapolis.

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A painting to be featured at Mel Meo’s 'Authentic Pine Island' exhibit.


"My grandfather came here to Southwest Florida and lived over on Sanibel," Meo said. "When my parents left Indianapolis, my mother, who was Native American, was drawn to the Calusa mounds of Pineland so my parents purchased a house there in 1970 and that's where I grew up."

Meo's art reflects the peace she has found on Pine Island during the last 40 years and her paintings reflect Pine Island and the artists spirituality and sense of humor. Her watercolors, painted furniture and the silk screened clothing are whimsical, cheerful and tropically colorful.

"Pineland was quite isolated 40 years ago," Meo said. "There were no kids, just older island people. I got interested in art because of my brother, David Meo. He's an artist and because there was nothing else to do, and I wanted to be like my older brother, I began painting. I bought my first sewing machine when I was 16 and I just painted and sewed.

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"There never was a doubt that I was going to be an artist," Meo continued. "I've never had a lesson and I'm still learning by trial and error. The driving force for me is the desire to always create. Whether it's painting, sewing or writing, I wake up with that desire every morning."

Meo's art can also be found around the islands - most notably on the M/PIFCD fire tower behind the Elks Club. Entitled "5000 Years of Fishing," the painting begins at the top of the tower with the Calusa Indians and finishes at the bottom with local fishermen today.

"Also, since Bert's Gallery's annual festive Parade of Mermaids is just around the corner (Feb. 9), and since Mel Meo is the newest addition to the panel of 'celebrity judges,' people can expect to see some unique Mel Meo mermaid art," Pine Bay Gallery manager Deb Cole said.

Bert's Pine Bay Gallery is located at 4332 Pine Island Road, at the northeast corner of the drawbridge that spans Matlacha Pass. Call 239-283-1335 for more information.



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