Melinda K. Hall
"A Love Possessed"   (2018)

Harrison Gallery
825 White Street
Key West, Florida

Artist's statement:

"I first learned about the events surrounding Count Carl von Cosel and his beloved Elena Hoyos almost twenty years ago. And lucky me at that time, for what could have been better than to have heard this macabre Key West tale, directly from the mouth of my friend, Ben Harrison, who had recently penned, Undying Love, his book on that very subject. It was an incomparable story, enticingly eccentric and fascinating.

Of course I went on to read Ben's book and to visit Key West many times where I also began showing my art work at Helen and Ben's Harrison Gallery on White Street. I was hooked on Key West's warmth, charm, delicious quirkiness and bizarre true tales.

To coincide with and honor Ben's 2018 production, Undying Love: A Key West Musical, I was inspired to create my interpretation of this story in a series of 8 paintings entitled, "A Love Possessed". I decided to capture the events in an Ex Voto style. Ex Voto, short for Ex Voto Susepto, is a Latin term "from the vow made", a painted offering often found in churches or shrines in thanksgiving for a miracle received. This way of thanks to deities or spirits dates back to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and is seen today through Latin countries. Since I am a narrative painter by nature, this sort of story telling with pictures and words suits my preferred artistic sensibilities and Carl von Cosel and Elena's story is most certainly woven with the notions of vows, miracles, thanksgiving and might I add, dark humor."

Melinda K. Hall
Santa Fe, New Mexico