From the glory and the heights of the sublime to the misery of existing and ruining our surroundings and ourselves. We are we and our circumstance, and like the Spanish Philosopher Ortega y Gasset used to say, if we don’t save it we don’t save ourselves. Where are we heading? What is left after us? How are we affecting our environment? Oh, humans, so capable of both extremes!
This is a collective exhibition inhabited by undefined shapes, strange creatures and ghosts that with its powerful indifference make us consider who we really are and what we are creating or, perhaps even more, what we are destroying. The three participating artists are Mario Abela, Victor Agius and Tony Briffa.
Mario Abela participates with large paintings, “notes from the Anthropocene”, referring to a time where humans started to impact the planet’s climate and ecosystems, showing a chaotic mix of nature, animals and humans.
Victor Agius focuses on the earthy elements with sculptures made from organic materials, reminding the fragility of nature and humanity, but also their immense potential.
Tony Briffa puts the cherry on the cake with his 3 dimensional creatures that seem to jump from a fantasy land direct to the Arthall show; fun and unclassifiable, they will catch your attention and charm your eye.
MARIO ABELA. He was born in 1983 in Gozo, Malta, where he lives and works. Mario holds a Bachelors Degree in Education – Art and History, and a Masters in Fine Arts – Digital Arts, from the University of Malta. He is currently a senior lecturer at MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts, lecturing in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, and Interactive Media.
He uses paintings, drawings, collage, video and sound that depart from the metaphysical, anthropological theories and history. Through a juxtaposition of images and chance during execution, what starts as storytelling, becomes an exploration into fantastic worlds. This puts concepts like time, memory and chance under analysis, to establish how these determine the interpretation of the past and sometimes forecast the future.
VICTOR AGIUS. Born in 1982 in Malta, he was raised in an artistic family. Already as a child he became acquainted with sculptural work thanks to his father’s studio in Xagħra (Gozo Island), where the family still lives. Later on, after graduating from the University of Malta’s Fine Art Department (2004), he furthered his studies abroad: first in 2009 at the International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture in Perugia (Italy), then in 2011 at the Central Saint Martin’s College for Art and Design in London (UK). So far, his works have been shown at various artistic venues in Malta, among which the National Museum of Fine Arts and St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Valletta, but also at many public places of cultural significance (such as a Neolithic temples complex Ġgantija, the UNESCO World Heritage site). He has also participated in numerous international exhibitions.
His practice consists of performance, installation, sculpture and painting. At its core, it concerns his work with formless matter. Agius examines the formless matter proper to his own experience of the environment, which all finds its roots in the earth or soil-derived organic materials (raw clay, for instance, beside natural pigments, oils and acrylics). This has allowed him to produce a body of work through which to reflect upon the subject of human existence in general and the limits of his own existence in particular.
TONY BRIFFA. Born in Malta in 1959, he studied ceramics in the late seventies obtaining a distinction diploma from Tarġa Gap School for Craftsmen.
After almost ten years working in the ceramic industry, he was entrusted with the ceramic studios at Tarġa Gap, his old art school. Since the early eighties, he exhibited in a significant number of national and international juried exhibitions, drawing the attention of art critics and collectors . All along he also worked intensely in the theatre both as an actor and as a designer. He designed sets, costumes & props for major productions by playwrights as diverse as Aristophanes, Moliere, Neil Simon and Peter Shaffer.
In 1995, he was awarded the Commonwealth Foundation Fellowship in Art and Crafts, which he pursued later as a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for the Arts, Hobart, University of Tasmania. While in Australia, he attended the international ceramic Clay Scupt Symposium at Gulgong.
He moved to Tåsinge in Denmark in 2002 where he now lives and work. Tony was awarded the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2015 and the Malta Arts Council Grant in 2016 and 2018 for his ceramic sculptures.
DATES AND CONTACT
From 1 May to 30 May 2021
Marta Obiols Fornell at [email protected] or 77051564.
Opening hours: From Wednesday to Saturday from 10-13 and 17-19; Sunday from 10-12.
Visit: arthallgozo.com or https://www.facebook.com/ArtHallGozo
*The exhibition will be subject to Covid19 restrictions.