A collective art exhibition in Senglea in time for Christmas
An exciting new exhibition space in Senglea, Art by the Seaside, welcomes Christmas collective art exhibition, a mixture of painting and sculpture by some of our country’s eminent artists. There is no emphasis on particular themes; rather one can admire a flow through different media and genres.
Antonio Mifsud, renowned for his high relief sculptures of biblical episodes, exhibits a triptych, Abstract bastions, which finds the artist exploring abstraction. Some might mistakenly think that this is a foray outside his comfort zone. However, Mifsud has a repertoire of works that goes beyond the strictly representative and often branches out into the genre of semi-abstract landscape. He likes to immerse himself in color and composition. We cannot ignore the spiritual dimension which permeates all of his work.
Sarah Calleja’s open-air approach to the landscape lends a fresh and direct dimension to the portrayal of the ever-changing moods and moods of the natural open spaces of our islands. His song, Delimara, disregards a Maltese geographical situation in an impression of the place. Rather reminiscent of the style of American artist Robert Motherwell, it composes a symphony of shades of blue and black, capturing the abstract quality of the place’s seaside spirit. The painting evokes the freshness and fluidity of the sea.
that of Stéphanie Micallef Landscapes radiates a poetic serenity. Its title, in the plural, suggests a universality of the term “landscape” by intentionally not designating a particular geographical location. The artist with great sensitivity, thanks to a balance between colors and composition, effectively encapsulates the dreamlike and abstract essence of nature in a dichromatic flow of land, sea and sky.
“A flow through different media and genres”
Mark Schembri is a non-conformist artist, unrelated to particular themes. He is certainly a maverick in his philosophy as expressed through social media posts that challenge the status quo in all aspects of society. Sometimes his art can be political; he always has something to say and his opinions are cruelly honest. This is reflected in his art, Schembri seems to follow his daily whims, thus creating a very spontaneous and effortless work while being acerbic. From the window, however, is quite traditional for him in his approach as it essentially portrays the view from his home of the Grand Harbor, with the massive Fort St Angelo and the wayward skies dominating the composition.
Daniel Borg is a relatively new name on the Maltese visual arts scene. The first COVID containment was providential for the artist as he burst onto the scene by regularly posting his paintings on social networks. Coming from a musical background, he felt that, artistically, he needed a reinvention. He rediscovered his teenage love for painting, and over the past year and a half he has created an impressive realistic work of portraits and situations. His exhibit, Peter, demonstrates Borg’s dexterity at masterfully capturing his role model in an intimate narrative of emotion and maturity.
that of Rosanna Ciliberti Modern cross is an alternative to a constructivist approach to sculpture. Through an organic superposition of strands of apparently polymeric material, the artist reinterprets the iconography of the cross with its vertical-horizontal symbolism. A defining symbol of Christianity, the cross predates religion by hundreds, if not thousands, of years, as it can be found in much older civilizations such as Babylonian and Persia. Ciliberti’s abstract composition suppresses the depiction of the crucified body, perhaps symbolizing the loss of the ethos that corrupts modern religion. Or it could be that the artist is looking for a timeless and undefined narrative relevant to the iconography of the cross.
Dave Calleja’s Senza’s parole is a sculpture of silent and primitive power, drawing comparisons with African and oceanic art. All facial openings are sealed – eyes tightly closed, mouth almost pinched to a point, nose apparently devoid of nostrils, while earlobes are missing. The title Senza’s parole (wordless or voiceless) sounds with particular eloquence – a face that cannot be expressed because the artist has deprived it of all sense organs. The work of Austrian Fritz Wotruba and Italian Venturino Venturi are casually remembered, who sculpted rugged, elemental and powerful images of an intentionally unrefined quality.
The portrait is Karl Fröman’s strong point. He manages to viscerally bring out the character and vulnerability of the model. Sometimes these are bathed in supernatural diffuse light while, at other times, an austere incident light envelops them in light and shadow. We remember Norwegian artist Odd Nerdrum’s approach to portraiture, dramatic sets and all.
This Christmas collective, which also includes works by Kevin Attard, Kevin Sciberras and Alan Azzopardi, invites the art-loving public to Senglea’s new gallery, which opened last month with Rebecca Ranieri’s solo exhibition, titled M’haju allibirari.
The intimate and warm nature of a traditional Maltese townhouse, converted by its owners, adds to the appeal of Art by the Seaside as visitors can easily imagine the works of art on display embellishing their home and thus can be enthused to start or enrich their art. collection.
Christmas collective art exhibition is hosted by Art by the Seaside of 65, Triq il-Mina tax-Xatt, Senglea. It runs until December 22. Log on to the gallery’s Facebook page for opening hours and more information. COVID-19 restrictions apply.
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