|Jacqueline Agius is currently exhibiting some of her latest watercolour paintings at the Trattoria Fiorino D’Oro in Salina, L/O Naxxar.|
|She has a strong affinity for the outdoors and is particularly interested in capturing a sense of atmosphere and mood in her paintings. She loves the landscape with its open spaces and especially the warm stone buildings and churches standing proud against the skyline. Her aim is to work a spell on the viewer, to stir feelings.|
|Trattoria Fiorino D’Oro is located at it-Telgha t’Alla w Ommu, Salina and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 7pm to 11 pm and Sunday from 12 pm – 3 pm.|
|How did you start your artistic journey?|
|I showed an inclination towards artistic aptitudes since I was very young. I remember myself scribbling sketches of crucifixes during lessons at school. As I grew up, I have always found the courage to move onwards, thanks to the support of my family and friends.|
|I graduated in art education at the University of Malta in 1996. During my Bachelors, I studied under two well know Maltese artists who require no introduction. They are Harry Alden and Anton Agius.|
|The breakthrough to my artistic career occurred in 1997 after I won a scholarship at the Accademia di Belle Arti Pietro Vannucci in Perugia. This academy is one of the most renowned art academies from which most famous local artists emerged. During these intensive years I explored different techniques and media which enabled me to evolve my artistic language. I might say that this introspective research is still ongoing, since the artistic development is never-ending.|
|How do you define your art?|
|If I have to define my art I might rather label it as Expressionist. An Expressionist artist is more interested in distorting reality and liberating his or her emotions rather than creating a faithful representation of what may appear familiar. I always felt that I should never copy or reproduce reality, but rather show my deep emotions in relation to what captures my attention. There is no question that photography is more objective and accurate in registering data from the surrounding environments, so I find it challenging to re-invent the world around me.|
|What encouragement did you receive during your artistic journey?|
|The support from my family was very important. I have also found support from several other individuals since I organised my first solo exhibition. I also acknowledge the support I have been given from the Maltese and Italian Governments who gave me the opportunity to widen my knowledge at the art academy in Perugia.|
|What inspires you?|
|The development of artistic movements and trends does not stop with the Impressionists, the Expressionists and Post-Second World War artists. Together with the traditional Arts of Painting and Sculpture, one has to mention as well the relevance of Video Art and Installations which are dominating the current artistic scenario in the USA and European countries. In terms of painting, Alberto Burri and Nicholas de Stael are two important artists from the post-war era whom I admire a lot. On the other hand, I find the work of post-modern artists Richard Long and Bill Viola very fascinating and stimulating. In relation to Maltese art, I am a great admirer of artists like Willie Apap and Emvin Cremona who made outstanding contributions throughout their artistic career.|
|Which is your preferred medium?|
|Like every other artist, I configure mental images which sometimes develop into finished works. The difficulty is how to transform your ideas and present them to the viewers. The versatility of my artistic approach enables me to develop my ideas with a wide range of media, which include sculpture, photography, acrylics, oils and mixed media. As regards painting, I usually treat my canvasses with a primer to create textured surfaces. Personally, I feel that by roughening the surface of my canvasses I give character and a personal idiom to my paintings.|
|What comes through your mind before you start applying paint onto your canvas?
|It depends whether I am working on a figurative or a non-figurative painting. In the case of figurative art, the process is easier since I make use of the visual data which condition the final result. In the case of non-figurative or abstract art, I usually make use of simple sketches and drawings which develop gradually into final works What is common to all my abstract paintings is the meticulous search for balance and proportion between forms, colours and texture. Basically, my works consist of pre-structured and orderly plans which are rendered in a spontaneous and emotional way. One could easily notice in my paintings a certain extent of impulsiveness in my brushstrokes which definitely reflect and complement my personality.|
|When do you dedicate your time to art?|
|I enjoy working most during natural daylight. I can see the colours as they are supposed to look. I don’t like winter-time since days are shorter and there is less daylight. I prefer the seasons of Spring and Autumn during which colours are bright and contrasting.|
|What can you say about the financial aspect in relation to your own perspective?|
|The life of an artist is not an easy one. It has to be self-fulfilling and one would lie to himself or herself if the prior intention is to please the observers. The artist should always be true to himself and please first and foremost himself with his work. Somebody bound or committed to produce what other people like is not an artist at all. A true artist should always be free to express himself or herself in the ways he or she feels appropriate. If an artist exploits his art for financial interests and gains, his art is contaminated. I am not saying that financial success is not important; it is acceptable when achieved as a natural by-product of genuine artistic efforts. Financial success is important since it encourages artists to keep on working.|
|What do you think about those artists who try and hide behind abstract art?|
|I feel that abstract art, which is just one branch of contemporary art, is relatively more challenging to produce than figurative art. In abstract art, the artist has no visual reference from objective reality. The artist has to get in touch solely with his inner self. Colours, forms and rhythms are then combined harmoniously to express the relative states of mind.|
|Do you see any difference between Maltese artists and international artists?|
|There are cultural differences. The artist who lives in a metropolis has different visual and cultural influences. Local artists sometimes tend to be more restricted in their expression. For instance, few dare deliver political messages through their work. Few dare to be poignant in terms of cultural and political discrimination. Maybe these are areas yet untouched by local artists.|
|“Based near Leeds in England I work with various media including oils, pastels and ink/metallic. I am a self publishing artist with a portfolio of limited edition prints of my original paintings.”|
|“Art is in my blood and I have drawn and painted all my life. My formal art education was completed at an esteemed college in Yorkshire, and I turned professional in 2002. The style of painting is very individual and unique. I have developed this style and worked to perfect it over the years.”|
|“I show regularly in exhibitions in my home county and some of my work can be seen in the gallery of my dealer in London. My first major exhibition was in Manchester in March 2002, followed by the Corn Exchange, Edinburgh in August 2003 which aroused a lot of interest. Subsequently my work has been reproduced in several magazines, one of which awarded me their prize for “Artist of the Year”.”|
|“As a consequence my paintings have been finding their way into private collections all over the world. I have accepted commissions from Italy and America as well as London, and in autumn 2006 I travelled to Hong Kong to complete a commission for an art collector there (Ballerina Silhouette). “|
|Liz, has visited Malta during February and March. The artist visited a number of local Artists such as Alfred Briffa, Vince Briffa and Gabriel Caruana. The artist should be exhibiting a number of work at a local gallery in the near future.|
When did your career start off?
|It’s hard for me to pinpoint when and how I became an artist painter, all I say is that I agree with the notion that an artist painter is born and not made. I was born to a family of artists. My father, the late Agostino Camilleri was the well-known sculptor, mostly renowned for statues in papier-mache and sculptures in stone. Such sculptures may be admired at Ta Pinu Sanctuary, which contain around 1800 different designs including also the apostle group in stone.|
|I am a member of a family full of artistic talents. One can mention my brothers Alfred and Michael, who are sculptors and statuarians, and Mario who is an established gilder.|
|In my early years at the Primary School and later at the Gozo Seminary, I used to sketch all over my copybooks. Schoolmates used to ask me to paint their village saint for them, in exchange for their Mathematics homework. I still remember a Mr Galea from Gharb, the first teacher who asked us to add colour to some geometric shapes on the blackboard. I was also encouraged to have lessons in music. This was partly on insistence of my mother Francesca, who was a music-lover herself. I was taken to Mro Anton Meilaq, who was well versed in lacework design. Actually , I was more fascinated by his designs rather than with his music instructions. All this took place before reaching the age of fourteen. Throughout all this time, I also spent hours helping my father in his studio and also doing some of my own paintings.|
|My artistic talents got a boost when the Italian artist painter Profs. Gian Battista Conti was busy painting the dome and vault of St George’s Basilica in Victoria in the 1950s. I used to find time to go and watch him at work in a room on the first floor of the Sacristy, which he had converted into a studio. Once he asked me to fetch him the short stick with which he sometimes used to support his hand while painting. Those were the very first words he spoke to me and the beginning of a very fruitful apprenticeship under his guidance. At one point my lessons were shifted to Room No.1 at the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel where he lodged while in Gozo.|
|Some time later I was introduced to another church artist painter, Profs Giuseppe Briffa from Birkirkara. My father helped Briffa get the commission to do some work in Kercem parish church. I also got a lot of encouragement and inspiration from this painter. Later on I also studied under the tuition of Giuseppe Caruana and Toussaints Busuttil.|
|In 1960 I got the Diploma from the Press Art School (London). I proceeded to further my studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti Pietru Vannucci of Perugia, whereby I was instructed in a number of artistic branches under the guidance of established and renowned Italian artist, amongst whom Profs. Gerardo Dottori. While studying in Perugia, I also travelled along to Rome to get lessons in art at the studio of the artist Paolo Citraro.|
|Upon finishing my studies in Italy, I was posted as an art teacher in the Education Department. Eventually I offered my resignation from the Education Department due to the numerous commissions for private entities. This was a step towards the continuation of the number of commissions of artworks started way back two decades before which have never ceased till today.|
|What is your preferred medium?|
|Since I studied all media in art I do not stick to any particular medium. I continually experiment with different media with the result that sometimes a painting would be composed of mixed media.|
|Is there any particular time during which you paint?|
|Daylight is the usual time for my work, however my time is dictated by the load of work.|
|What can you say on the subject “the artist and the money??|
|Art belongs to the artist’s individual self. Money is more objective. Hence, both art and money are incompatible, although ironically artists’ self expression is developed by means acquired by money.|
|Are there any contemporary Maltese artists whom you admire?|
|Artists can never be compared with one another. Each artist expresses his own style. Like history art can never be developed to its maximum because it evolves as the artist grows older.
Hence, each artist belongs to his own domain and his works are always subject to different interpretations.
|Marc England will be exhibiting his paintings in the main hall of St. James Cavalier in Valletta. The Exhibition, to be inaugurated by Prof. Serracino Inglott, will be opened on the 25th of March and will run until the 9th of May 2010.|
|The subjects of his work are mostly Churches in Malta and Gozo. Although this subject has been treated on countless occasions by other artists, Marc manages to give his churches a particular ethereal and mystical veil of gothic solemnity, that seperates them from any other style. Whether his tints and tones are subdued, or whether contrasted with explosive colour, both are equally imposing and dramatic. He has indeed developed a unique and individual technique that is highly recognizable. His works may be viewed on www.marcengland.com.|
Yesterday we had an opportunity to watch action live painting by Jonas Gerard. This activity was organised by St. Ignatius College, Boys’ Secondary School in Handaq.
It is a breath of fresh air to know that in Malta there is a secondary school willing to take on the initiative and bring over contemporary artists from abroad. This allows students to experience different forms and styles of art. Art in itself is a means of self-expression and being exposed to different forms of art allows one to appreciate such expressions. There is no such thing as good art or bad art, but rather the beauty, skill, inherent meaning, uniqueness, and fulfilled intent of an art are to be judged by the individual appreciating that piece of art. Freedom of expression in art should always be encouraged.
Well done to the school headmaster, Pierre Mifsud and all the staff for taking such initiative.
|Two contemporary artists, Philip Agius and Audrey Mercieca are putting up an exhibition entitled ‘Timeless Colours’. It will be held at the 5 star Hotel Le Meridien, St Julians from the 9th September till 24th September 2010. This collection is festivity of colours and a celebration of two exhibitors who will be showcasing 50 paintings together.|
|The main medium chosen for this exhibition is mainly watercolours and in a lesser amount acrylics and oils. Audrey and Philip both handle other mediums such as gauche and pastels as exhibited previously.|
|Malta and its colours was the main inspiration. The collection includes scenes and floral where Philip and Audrey try to express their feelings of the environment around them in colours with a lively visual impact. Each painting is a rhythm and journey from one to another.|
|These should reveal the characters of these two artists, serene yet disciplined through good use of design, tonal value, colour balance, light and perspective.|
True to its apocalyptic title, Anthony Catania’s Last Light revisions its most inspiring sources by filtering them through its antithetical aesthetic radiating what Harry Levin calls “the blackness of whiteness”. Clearly not an exhibition of polarities, Last Light unleashes this darkling paleness to intensify in Bloomian terms its “anxiety of influence”. Consider, for instance, the ‘Mourning Light’ and ‘Shades of Stars’ pastel drawings whose subversive reworking of Böcklin’s Die Toteninsel (1880) and Van Gogh’s La Nuit Etoilée (1889) bleaches them to an astral dance of death. For Catania recasts Böcklin’s ferryman, skiff and isle from spectral stars whose pallid light, eerily evocative of Die Toteninsel’s looming white shroud, subverts any Böcklinian intimations of La Nuit Etoilée’s nocturnal chromatism in its Van Goghian stellar dynamics. Imbued with this Stygian gloom’s hueless hue, Böcklin and Van Gogh mutually dissolve into Catania’s intermeshing of their scattered souls. Significantly, not only does Van Gogh’s crescent moon mutate into a sickle-shaped Böcklinian barge of the dead, but it modulates its waxing yellowness to Böcklin’s isle’s achromatic metamorphosis into cypress clumps flaring in Van Goghian angst. Appropriating Van Gogh’s starry vision, Catania pales it to a waning darker than Böcklin’s.
Haunting, in fact, Catania’s arboreal Isle of the Dead is a Dantesque ferryman whose equally pale Ovidian ordeal transmutes him into a Charon-Herne likewise plagued by ambient Van Goghian stellar stains. Nothing remains, however, of the Wild Hunt’s Herne in Catania’s Charonian equivalent but an antlered skeleton whose starry anguish reflects the Isle’s and the barge’s – for it similarly scatters into writhing Van Goghian sunflower petals. Incarnating neither the wilde Jagd’s hunter nor Böcklin’s boatman, Catania’s Charon-Herne stalks and ferries nothing beyond its insubstantial substance. Being essentially no Böcklinian oarsman, the Charon-Herne significantly plies a death-driven barge. As Kafka’s Hunter Gracchus intuits: “My ship has no rudder, and it is driven by the wind that blows in the undermost regions of death”. Being the Isle’s genius loci, the Charon-Herne looms as Death oarlessly steering itself to a Never-Netherworld, like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. The unearthly effect is of a pale Cimmerian realm whose absent presence glitters in starry evanescence. Unlike Guardi’s La Laguna Grigia (ca. 1780-1785), with its glittering surface suggestive of resurgence, Catania’s Charonian canal shimmers with the putrescence of stellar revenants. “[B]egot”, in Donne’s words, “[o]f absence, darkness, death”, Catania’s is a white light that is not there. What this twin set of drawings uncannily casts is a mournful ghostly light – a spectral elegy to Catania’s hollowing out of Böcklin’s and Van Gogh’s diametrically opposed luminosity. But Catania’s pale palette is equally self-elegiac, for what gleams on its lightless light is his own aesthetic epitaph.
Hence the starless realm of the “Dying Death” set where Catania’s Charon-Herne, like Homer’s Orion dissolving into a phantom deer, aptly mutates into a pallid parallel to Turner’s chromatic horseman of death. But Catania’s Reaper transcends Turner’s saddle-slumped skeletal Death on a Pale Horse (ca. 1825-1830) by paling further into its own cadaverous void. True, in fact, to Paul de Man’s disturbing intuition that “by making the dead speak […] the living are struck dumb, frozen in their own death”, Catania propels his Equine Death to a consummation of its Heideggerian moribundus fate, thereby succumbing his deathly light to its subversive scythe. Symbolic of Catania’s art at its evanescent might, the Revelation Equus of the ‘Dying Death’ drawings, unlike Turner’s, canters into the quintessence of nothingness. The aesthetic rest is a vacuity of Stygian Paleness. Radiating Rudolf Otto’s mysterium horrendum, Catania’s ‘Dying Death’ set collapses into the totentanz of its event horizon, for its starless numinous annihilates, if I may rephrase Marvell’s famous words, all that’s made to a black thought in a pale shade.
|In his fourth solo exhibition, Maltese artist Anthony Catania turns his attention to spectres of the sea; images of ghost ships and lost barks that wander through stormy and quiet waters seeking refuge from their inevitable fate.|
|The works are inspired by S. T. Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and legends of the Flying Dutchman, with the recurring image of the albatross haunting many of the works.|
|Ghostly abandoned ships roam these dark canvases, their sails and masts tattered, webbed and skeletal. Alone in the untamed fury and wrath of the sea, or alternatively the deceptive eerie stillness of its calm surface, these spectral vessels are doomed to sail the tired waters of these canvases eternally.|
|Lost, like the souls of their doomed crew, the barks’ only company is that of the omnipresent albatross. Depicted as a swastika-shaped dancer flexing its limbs in a demonic pre-kill ritual, the albatross enacts its curse on these ill-fated ghost ships.|
|Alternatively, the bird is transformed into an almost maternal presence, enveloping the child-like craft in its treacherous embrace while its speared beak hovers menacingly between its arms. In these paintings the albatross conquers sea and sky as it also engulfs the canvas in its immense overarching wings.|
|Inspired by literary motifs, Catania’s latest works continue in the strong tradition of his past three exhibitions which refer the viewer to Greek and Nordic mythology, Dante’s Inferno and the Germanic legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. In Spectre-Bark the artist’s skill is once more applied not simply to breathing visual life into the verses he alludes to, but more importantly to conceiving of them anew in the unique and playful manner that we have now come to associate with his work.|
|‘Spectre-Bark’ – Art Exhibition by Anthony Catania will be open between Friday, 11 September 2009 until Sunday, 25 October 2009 at Malta Maritime Museum|
|Sculptor Joseph Casha is celebrating his 70th anniversary and 50 years in the field of sculpture with an art exhibition entitled “Small is Beautiful”, consisting of 40 miniature sculptures in painted terracotta made during the last three months. The exhibition which is being inaugurated on the 21st of May is being held at the Malta School of Art to coincide with the Prize Giving Ceremony of the school. It will remain open till the 12th of June.|
|Casha has always had a creative relationship with the Malta School of Art that has developed and changed over five decades. He enrolled as a student in the late 1950’s in the modelling class under the supervision of George Borg and studied drawing under Vincent Apap, obtaining a four year scholarship to study abroad. On his return he was appointed art teacher in Government Secondary Schools. In 1983 he started teaching sculpture at the School of Art and in 1995 he was appointed Head of school. He retired in 2000 but he is still in charge of the popular 3D sculpture class.|
|This is Casha’s first exhibition since his retrospective organised by the Bank of Valletta three years ago, curated by Mr Louis Saliba.|