Monday, November 11, 2013 – Osmeivy Ortega
We met Osmeivy Ortega at ISA and he invited us to visit his studio in Cerro, a section of Havana. Os’ studio is on the top floor of his apartment, a makeshift room on a rooftop with corrugated walls, yet beautiful and a wonderful studio space. He has an etching press, large tables, a little patio with furniture. It seems like a luxurious studio and he seems to be a financially successful artist – he’s travelled all over the world, and has a car. He’s a bundle of energy. Our visit begins with refreshments and he graciously takes the time to look at my work and the images of the studio and some of our artists’ work on the laptop since he couldn’t make it to my talk. He is very excited and we talk about ideas and process. After a bit he begins to show us his work, amazing woodcuts of animals on masonite, and prints on mop fabric based on Christmas cards, personal narratives and political events. He shows us photos of installation projects he did in Sweden and Cleveland. His work is graphic and large yet also conceptual– thoughtful and political. All the art I have seen here is wrapped up in the human experience – there is nothing abstract or cerebral – it’s visceral and expressive, symbolic and referential to history, politics, literature. Os quotes Camus and Whitman. This visit, which we thought would be one-hour turns into nearly 3 and we leave only because Roberto has a family gathering. It’s an amazingly stimulating afternoon.