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Agnes Olive, 20-year artistic journey

By Agnes Olive

As I review my work, it becomes clear that I am really a storyteller. The natural materials, the old wood, the rusty findings, the bones are the words that speak of the many rituals I have discovered in far corners of the world. The crone series sang out when I personally celebrated this coming of sage period in my life. My exhibition “Oneness of Spirit” spoke about the Oneness of man and nature and the need to co-exist. The theme of life, death and rebirth is a thread that is woven throughout much of my art.

“Espíritus del Jardín”
Exhibit by Agnes Olive
Fri, Feb 7, 5–8
Galería Relox 46
Reloj 46

My most recent body of work, that has not yet been shown, was brought about by the disastrous fire at El Charco where I have been walking and meditating weekly for the past 13 years. A gently decaying boat that sat grounded beside the path always caught my attention. I harbored a secret dream to one day, with El Charco’s permission, incorporate the weathered boards into my artwork. Now it was too late. Mourning the carnage left by the fire, I gathered up all the rusty nails from the destroyed boat and imbedded them into what became a metal collage. “An homage to the burning boat.” This led to more pieces constructed from old metal that had been in my studio for years waiting to be seen and heard.

I have been working as a professional artist for 40 years, upon graduating from Sheridan School of Design, Toronto, in the mid ‘70s, I immediately opened a gallery representing my work and that of Canadian artists. In 1984, I hired a gallery manager and moved to Pakistan where for three years I was Artist in Residence at the Lahore College of Art and had the honor of exhibiting my handmade paper in a solo exhibition at the Lahore National Gallery. On my return, I again took over the reins until 1996 when I accepted a position with “Aid to Artists Ghana” in Ghana, West Africa. That same year I arrived in San Miguel and had the pleasure of continuing my career.

Recently I had a “knowing” that it was time to make a change. I had nothing more to say, at least not for now. It was time to rest and go to the well, a time for a spiritual, creative refueling. I have retained my studio space where I give my “Crone” and “Take the Fear Out of Art “ workshops. At times I pay a visit, sit quietly and listen. Perhaps one day, my muse and I will find something new to say.

I am sharing all this because it is often part of a creative journey to lay down one’s tools and trust to the universe that when the time is right new paths, new inspirations will appear.

Judyth Hill’s poetry class beckoned and words that had been waiting out in the wings started to flow in. I felt gifted with a new way of creative expression and wrote a poem ‘I am in fallow” that gave voice to where I was at that moment.

I have now decided it is time to share my work of the past 16 years; some previously shown and some not. I think of all life, including that of my art, as vibrating energy and it is not meant to be stagnant, but to flow, to be shared.

It gives me pleasure to be exhibiting at Galería Relox 46 where I had my first show “Espíritus del Jardín” in 1997 and I am honored that Cati Demme has consented to act as curator.

Please join me in an opening reception on Friday, February 7, from 5 to 8pm. On Mondays at 3pm I invite you to join me on a “walk about” when I will discuss how these pieces came into being.

On Sunday, February 23, we will have a closing celebration of art and poetry. The exhibit runs from February 7 to 23. Gallery hours daily except Tuesday and Wednesday from 11am to 6pm.  Contact; 152-3059.


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