The Restless Eye // The Visions of Olga Manosalvas

July 19 - September 30, 2019

Custom House Museum | Bryan Gallery

Olga Manosalvas is a polyglot, of sorts.

Take a trip through her work and you’ll see that she speaks multiple languages through well-defined explorations, artistic styles and mediums.

Her obra de mano, or handmade work, reveals her divergent paths, observations and tics.  Olga’s work is a garrison of grotesques, saints, sinners and bawling babies.  No one is left untouched–characters pulled from the commedia dell’arte, zaftig cubanas and brasileiras, indigenous madres latinas.

Olga resurrects images seared into her primordial (and to family members, frighteningly accurate) memory.  She harnesses found objects and bends them to her creative will.  She breathes life into a menagerie of fantastic creatures created from insanely detailed, embroidered fabrics, dressed over crimped wire.

Art is not just a vocation or calling.  For Olga it’s her diet, her nutrition.  As with her artwork, a simple meal prepared by Olga turns into an exploration of alchemical herbs and ingredients, resulting in something you may have dreamed of, but never before tasted.  A stroll to the market becomes a moving meditation, a pilgrimage.  She logs a million artistic fitbit miles in everything she does, transforming quotidian chores into exquisite and finely attuned daily rituals.

Olga is ruled by ritual.  She is pulled hard and fast towards an examination of arcane rituals and she holds them up against her christian upbringing, reverently taking what she needs, and discarding the rest.  She doesn’t always choose what she creates; it often chooses her and invites her to take what she needs.

We are fortunate to have her back in Key West, affording us the ability to also, take what we need.

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