Ocala, Florida arts center to highlight colorful, mystical worlds

The October exhibit at the Brick City Center for the Arts will plunge visitors deep into the vivid colors and mystical experiences of a Peruvian rainforest — right in downtown Ocala.

The exhibit “Nature In the Balance: Exploring Flora & Fauna of Florida & South America” will feature the artwork of Amazon visionary artists and Peruvian children from the collection of guest curator, Scott Olsen of Ocala, and spotlight the photography of wild Florida and the Guiana Shield in South America by James Valentine. 

The photography captures scenes like the 3,200-foot Angel Falls in Venezuela.

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The exhibit runs all month during regular gallery hours at the Marion County Cultural Alliance’s Brick City Center for the Arts, adjacent to the downtown square. Admission is free and the center is open to the public.

A few selections of the artwork will be displayed under black light which makes the already brilliant moonlight scenes glow with a luminescence.

“Amazon Serenity” by Mita Lozano, 2018 – Acrylic on Canvas, 30x30

The painting “Otorongo’s Universal Knowledge” by Amazon visionary artist Alfredo Zagaceta, who will be at the center Oct. 16 and 23, is an example of the brightly colored artwork. The painting features rainforest images including a puma and jaguar surrounded by flowers, hummingbirds, symbols of the planets, and the face of an indigenous woman. 

A sign with the display explains the importance of the puma or jaguar, “otorongo,” in the Amazon visionary artwork. “(The puma) embodies the awareness of the entire rainforest itself, including the myriad experiences anticipations, regrets, joys, and suffering of all species contained therein,” the signage states.

"Bee Woman"

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Gallery Director Ashley Justiniano said the exhibit, which includes about 35 paintings, is something all can enjoy.

“We call this type of exhibit an immersion exhibit,” Justiniano said.

All artwork on display is for sale and prices start at $100. Affordable prints of the original artwork also will be available. 

“Bee Woman” by Alfredo Zagaceta, 2020 – Acrylic on Canvas, 35x58 inches.

Olsen, 71, a native of Minnesota and former bodybuilder, recently retired as a professor emeritus of religion and philosophy at the College of Central Florida.

The October exhibit at Brick City Center for the Arts honors the Quest Foundation, which has “saved millions of acres of land through the arts,” and celebrates the rollout of Olsen’s latest book, “A Grand Unification of the Sciences, Arts, and Consciousness,” regarding mathematical order underlying the cosmos and universe.

Olsen has made multiple trips to the Peruvian rainforest, the headwaters of the Amazon, and met artist and “shamatic healer” Pablo Amaringo. He has also visited the Usko-Ayar art school in Pucallpa, Peru, according to a biography posted at the center.  

“Nueva Alejandria” by Louis Gonzales Laulate – Guache on Watercolor Paper, 20x24

Olsen, a collector of “shamatic visionary art,” wrote the book “Mysteries of the Amazon: Visionary Artwork of Pablo Amaringo and His Students,” according to Olsen’s biography.

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Last month, the Brick City Center for the Arts featured Marion Cultural Alliance’s third annual “Inspired By” juried fine art exhibition and competition. 

Robert G. Mull

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