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CRITICAL REFLECTIONS

9 JULY – 14 AUGUST, 2012 St James Cavalier | Centre for Creativity and Splendid Guesthouse - Strait Street Valletta Ascione Maurizio, Bonnici Keith, Borg David, Calleja Keith, Camillleri Karl, Corrieri Raffaella, Dingli Andrea, Fleri Soler Ella, Galea Stephanie, Grech Jacob, Mizzi Pawlu, Muscat Zach, Tonna Nicholas, Xuereb Steve

Fondazzjoni Temi Zammit


CRITICAL REFLECTIONS


MIRRORED is an exhibition showcasing

The works exhibited at St James

a selection of artworks produced during

Cavalier, are those which have gone

the study unit “Introduction to Critical

away from making a direct reference

Art” offered by the Faculty of the Built

to the art of the “masters” whilst the

Environment at The University of Malta.

artworks at the Splendid Guesthouse

Designed and delivered by Dr John

have a more clear reference to such

Grech, who established its parameters,

important artists.

this project brought students together to realise this exhibition as an extension

Participating students vary in

of this course. The exhibition is being

age, academic and professional

hosted by St James Cavalier, Centre

backgrounds and range of interests

for Creativity in Valletta as of July 9, till

thus promising a varied contribution to

August 14, 2012.

the theme. The works on display are an array of multimedia creations.

This unit provided students with an overview of some of the most influential

The organization and curation of this

artists and their works, together with

exhibition was delegated to a number

the review of art movements from the

of students following the study unit.

20th century which helped them identify what the driving purpose behind such

All was set up thanks to the support

works had been.

of Mr John Grech and Mr Vince Briffa. Hosts, St James Cavalier through Mr

At the same time students

Chris Gatt and Splendid Guesthouse

contextualised these movements in a

through Fondazzjoni Temi Zammit and

broader social and cultural sphere. At

the assistance of Mr Jason Masini.

the end of the course they were asked to produce a self-exploratory artwork

Main sponsors is Bank of Valletta.

that would continue to enhance and

Other contributors were B4 Group and

develop the student’s critical faculties.

Blokrete Group.


Maurizio Ascione 0.1

This exhibit takes the form of a sculptural painting whereby I have tried to incorporate most of the artistic features present Jackson Pollock’s work. 0.1 is based on a 90×70 cm canvas, reinforced with wood to support the sculpture. My primary inspiration was drawn from Jackson’s Pollock painting, The Deep, which he finished in 1953. Three objects used in the sculpture; The Beer Glass Bottles, which symbolize Pollock’s alcoholism; the Paint Cans, which symbolize the type of Enamel Oil Paint he used and the Sticks, which symbolise the fact that he used sticks instead of brushes to paint. One can notice that, the sculpture looks like it is all broken. In fact I incorporated the Drip Technique, which Pollock used on these objects to look like they have fallen freely. Finally, I used the drip technique using Black, Green, Yellow and Blue Enamel Oil Paint. These colours symbolize, nature in general; trees, flowers and water respectively, which Pollock dearly cared for.

Keith Bonnici Across the Road

Across the road... the new apartments across the road were the inspiration of the work. The shadows casted on the road grow with every storey built, which seem to engulf the surroundings. The installation is a personal response towards these buildings evoking suffocation and frustration. A mirror without an ear is a peer, my dear.


David Borg Creation

This painting was inspired by the surrealist thought and might be interpreted as an expression of dreams. I also tried to mirror my artistic style which I express in my personal works. After having studied the techniques of the surrealist movements, focusing on the exquisite corpse technique, I started making associations between objects that do not have any apparent connection, but upon further though, one may find that their association has a message to convey. The painting can be described as spiritual in nature with an allegory to the human existence in general. My favourite artists are Bernini and Henry Moore as I am interested in sculpture and the negative spaces entrapped into their figures. As painters, I like mostly DalÏ and the freeness of Matisse. A mirror‌ If you look enough into one you can discover that you are not who you really seem to be at a glance.

Keith Calleja Reflections in Water

This work is a depiction of the observation of water formation and detailed reflections in water. This concept wasthen projected into artistic elements inspired by modern art. As part of my preparation, I visited various ponds in order to observe how water reflects certain surfaces and how it is formed pictorially. I noted that water has many complex components, beautifully merged together to form the scene. There were vertical and curved lines, symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns, air bubbles and many others. I incorporated into the artwork the different shades of colour of water, as well as the way the light hits the surface and refracts certain objects differently than seen by the naked eye. Other structures emerged during sketching and others upon further researcht. The artist that inspired me most was Van Gogh due to the way he treated tones with colors. A mirror continued to reflect a wide variety of sources of information.


Karl Camilleri Untitled 2012

Drawing inspiration from Franz Kline, I adopted his technique of using house paints and sudden strokes of paint with a large brush. The main subject of bold, matt, black strokes represents the tall structures and towering buildings, which overpower our skyline. A couple of yellow parts from previous layers, representing Malta and its climate, are still visible, though they are white washed to give the effect of obstruction and suffocation by the debris and smog from construction sites. Very few, but strong red strokes appear among the empowering black to show the damaging effect on the population. This shows regret and hurt towards the current developments, only to be given a ray of hope by a gleaming blue stroke at the top of the painting, over the black crane-like structure. Most modernist and abstract expressionist artists interest me for their boldness, and strong emotional and expressive approach. Creating art no longer confined to the canvas, and their development of a new culture and changing the course of modern art. A mirror‌ reveals yourself and your opposite.

Rafaella Corrieri One Night in New York

This painting depicts New York City by night as seen from the Empire State building which in itself is very minimalist. However it is an urban jungle that incorporates a natural beauty and that is what I tried to capture, however simple it may be. This painting was inspired by Picasso. He was never afraid to distort forms in his works while using bright colours. Here I drew inspiration to distort the perspective and used bright but subtle colours. A mirror reflects only what the public can see. This painting reflects what I see, I see blocks, blocks of flats, towering office blocks, etc‌ each slightly higher than the next but the colours they cast upon each other creates a beauty that is unique to them.


Andrea Dingli Duality

When people interact with art, emotions are stirred in various ways which could inspire individuals. However, not everyone is able to channel their feelings to produce work. Unfortunately, I too often find myself staring at a blank canvas. ‘Duality’ is a representation of that artistic urge to transfer emotions to paper and the vexation of not being able to come up with any ideas. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio inspires me to a great extent. The fact that he lived his life battling a darkness inside of him and channeled his emotions to execute his paintings flawlessly is fascinating. A mirror reflects what you are but conceals who you are.

Ella Fleri Soler Dalì Inspired Self Portrait

Art (painting in particular), is a strong force in my personal creative journey; recently I discovered photography and combining all media was a natural process to express a newfound love. My selfportrait truly put my skills to the test, yet simultaneously allowed me to share that which I have passion for. Surrealism has always fascinated me and I tried to pay homage to Salvador Dalì whose inspirational works captivate my imagination. Salvador Dalì was one of the major artists of the surrealist period whose works have become famous worldwide. Surrealism sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind – a concept which I find truly intriguing. As Dalì developed his style his works became more and more affected by the concept of psychoanalysis devised by Freud and were increasingly shaped into dreamlike illustrations. He had an eye for detail and most of his paintings portray ambiguous and double-meaning subjects. A mirror could too easily dictate our lives. If only we could care about what’s on the inside more than what’s on the outside.


Stephanie Galea

Blood Toil Tears & Sweat

Rather than making a direct reference to one particular artist, or art movement, this work mirrors the philosophy behind many striking works that we discussed. Masterpieces such as Picasso’s Guernica and Davide’s Death of Marat were inspired by various social aspects mainly war, revolution, and death. And to these, artists felt the need to protest in a very powerful way. I have chosen to highlight certain hardships and losses endured on this very island (Malta) through this video. I chose to personify the war and directly engage the viewer to an event which occurred almost a century ago by providing him a glimpse into the life of an old couple who lived through the war. The title of the work is taken from an excerpt in a speech given by Winston Churchill in the House of Commons on May 10th 1940, when he became Prime Minister during the Second World War. A few passages of this speech may be heard throughout the video; words of hope and courage. These quotes contrast in an interesting way with the narration of the hardships endured during this time by the old lady portrayed in this work.

Jacob Grech I did it

My main goal was to challenge the main perception of art. I also drew my inspiration from personal experience in this work. The degree symbolizes grades and/or unit/credit in our educational system of gradation. The artwork deals with the situation, whereby a student works hard to achieve a good mark (or, at least, a pass mark) and then gets an under-rated mark, or worse, fails, leading to great disappointment. On the other hand, there would be others, who do not work as hard (or worse, do not work at all) and still manage to get higher grades. ‘I’ represents all individuals who are seeing the project or reading these words. There would be a day when you cheat. YOU are the ‘I’. Tracey Emin was my main inspiration as she mainly writes on existing artworks (although she has installation, photography and paintings). There is always controversy if anyone can create a work of art just by writing a thought. Emin reveals experiences from her own life and she is renoumed for her confessional art. A mirror… a mirror is a virtual space.


Pawlu Mizzi Death of Malta

With direct thematic reference to Jacques-Louis David painting The Death of Marat, which features the murdered French revolutionary leader and radical journalist Jean-Paul Marat lying dead in his bath on 13 July 1793, The Death of Malta is a metaphoric representation of what the artist believes to be the current “death of the maltese nation” and the maltese persona. Back in January 21, Pawlu read the booklet Il-Fidwa tal-Anarkiżmu by Mark Montebello and was inspired by the arguments around freedom of individual expression. This is, many times put at risk by various institutions which shape people’s thinking into a predefined framework. And people are expected to conform. Such institutions may be media, political or religious, amongst others. The illustration art also includes references to Picasso’s Guernica. The dead subject figure, framed in media jargon, holds the “original” letter (in French) which reads “Il suffit que je sois bien malheureuse pour avoir droit a votre bienveillance” or in English, “Because I am unhappy, I have a right to your help”. In this case, the letter (originally by traitor Charlotte Corday) is addressed to Malta. A mirror is when you stand close and stare at a wall for five minutes.

Zach Muscat

A Soccer Twist

Making up a large part of my life since the age of 3, football has come to define me. Inspired by Jackson Pollock’s action paintings, I wanted my work to reflect who I am. After completing my version of an action painting I grabbed a ball, switched off the lights so that I would be in an infinite environment to my feet and expressed myself using the most important aspect of my life. A mirror shows who you are to others but not who you are to yourself.


Nicholas Tonna The Drunk

The main inspiration for my work was drawn from Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Period”. This refers to a series of paintings executed between 1901 and 1904, in which the colour blue dominates. The blue period is a marvellous expression of poetic subtlety and depression and contributes to Picasso’s transition from classicism to abstract art. Through the use of the colour blue and doleful subject matter like beggars and drunks, Picasso achieves very gloomy and even delicate results. There is most definitely more than one artist whom I seek inspiration from. However, I would probably place Pablo Picasso at the top of that list. What I like about him is the variety that I see in his work. At times you see very bold shapes, and at times very smooth, free flowing shapes. This variety also appears in his application of the paint, and this is something that I also attempted in my work.

Steve Xuereb Rupture

The exhibition’s scope was to allow us to consider an art style that existed in the 20th Century and develop it further, and ultimately to cast a different light on it. I chose Cubism, a style that was sparked off by Pablo Picasso. The artist felt that the canvas should not limit the way the subject is perceived, thus Cubists often fragmented their subjects so as to achieve multiple viewpoints. However abstract, the artist succeeded in injecting a degree of three-dimensionality in an otherwise flat plane. My work is simply a reversal of this concept. If you observe it, you’ll see why. This work does not necessarily reflect the artist or artists whom I idolise. It was merely an experiment, or an excuse to venture where I haven’t before. If I had to list all the artists that inspired me through all the years, one would require a couple hundred more pages attached to this. However, the artist that inspires me today is Eduardo Pena. A mirror reveals us, but in reverse.


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Fondazzjoni Temi Zammit

MIRRORED  
MIRRORED  

MIRRORED is an exhibition showcasing a selection of artworks produced during the study unit “Introduction to Critical Art” offered by the Fa...

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