When Fernando Alvarez was in eighth grade, he got thrown out of art class. “My art teacher kicked me out of class because I wouldn’t do what she would ask me to do. I wanted to do my own thing. I was very rebellious,” said Alvarez, who at the time was a student at Western Jr. High School in Greenwich.

Not to worry. The abrupt exit from formal training didn’t faze the budding artist. It only helped reinforce his independent streak. In fact, Alvarez later was named school artist of the year. One of his supporters was the vice principal. “He still comes to my shows,” said Alvarez.

The Greenwich artist, who works in mixed media and specializes in lip-themed pieces, opened his gallery in Stamford a little over a year ago. The Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery is devoted to contemporary artists whose unique world view is reflected in their work. Alvarez is now  curating a new display by local artist Robert Wilson. The exhibit will open Friday, Feb. 11.

Wilson, an abstract expressionist, makes his statement through a single dominant color -- black -- which Alvarez finds intriguing. The two became acquainted after Wilson walked into the gallery last fall and introduced himself.

“So one day I looked at his strong narrative,” said Alvarez. “I find it very interesting that 95 to 98 percent of his work is one color. He’s saying so much with so little. That’s very, very difficult.”

Wilson’s son, Rainn, one of the stars of NBC’s “The Office,” is expected to attend Friday’s opening reception along with art enthusiasts throughout Stamford.

“Stamford welcomes the arts from every level,” said Alvarez of the reason he chose the 96 Bedford St. location for his gallery. “It was a very strategic decision to come here.”

Alvarez’s own works will be on display at Saks Fifth Avenue, Stamford Town Center, Wednesday, Feb. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m.  Have you seen them? Do you frequent any art galleries in the area?