July 3, 2019 – (Key West, FL).  Olga Manosalvas exhibit to be presented by Key West Art & Historical Society at Custom House Museum

Key West Art & Historical Society honors the work of Florida Keys-based and internationally exhibited painter and sculptor Olga Manosalvas in a solo exhibit entitled “The Restless Eye // The Visions of Olga Manosalvas” which opens with a special reception on Friday, July 19 from 6:00pm -7:30pm in the Bryan Gallery at the Custom House Museum, 281 Front Street.

Manosalvas has been a visual shaman and storyteller of sorts for more than two decades, influenced by her Ecuadorian ancestry, her New York upbringing, and most recently as a resident of the Florida Keys. The New York City native studied at the Art Students League, the High School of Art & Design, the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Madrid, and at Parsons School of Design.  She moved to the Keys after a 3-week vacation in 1980 to “live in a place that matched her ideals,” she says, eventually setting up shop first in Key West and then in Sugarloaf with the beloved “Baby’s Coffee” and establishing coffee roasting plants in Miami and Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.

Her work is a dazzling amalgam of acrylics, oils, embroidery, found objects, and “anything that works,” she says.

“I like using society’s discards in my icon pieces because I want to remake them into precious things.”

An overarching theme of “La Familia” and family circle weaves together articles of faith, the figurative, and the occult in her work, as witnessed in “The Listening Man” and “Quick Fix,” two paintings in the upcoming exhibit.

“The first two reflect family dynamics I’ve observed,” she says. “The Listening Man” is my ongoing interest in the figurative; “Quick Fix,” my pre-occupation with articles of faith and the expectations that come from the adoration of these.”

Viewers will also glean insight from Manosalvas’ sense of memory— a family death in Ecuador and the gathering of the family to wash and dress the departed, dreams, and other family scenarios.  They will be invited into a meditative realm of ritual, a mixture of Catholicism and esoteric religions she experienced as a child.

“My grandmother decided that my ongoing fever spikes were a result of the evil eye,” she says. “Traditionally it is thought that if an infant is pretty, there are certain people that can make them ill with too much looking, admiring. The ritual involved a doorway, cigar ash, the breaking of an egg to examine for blood and prayer. After this the cycle of fevers ended.”

“The Restless Eye // The Visions of Olga Manosalvas” exhibit runs through September 30. For more information call Cori Convertito, Ph.D., at 305-295-6616 x112, email her at cconvertitofarrar@kwahs.org, or visit kwahs.org.  Your Museums.  Your Community.  It Takes an Island.