Titled Mystery and Process, the exhibition by Anthony Spagnol and curated by Profs. Joseph P. Cassar opens on Thursday 23 June 2022 at the Art Galleries of the Malta Society of Arts (MSA) in Valletta. Showcasing oils on canvas that were created between 2019 and 2021, the 20 abstract works hint at the current state of affairs where ambiguity, uncertainty and the unknown prevail.
“We live in a world where we do not have control over everything – just think of COVID-19 and the Ukrainian War” states Spagnol, explaining the inspiration and themes behind the exhibition. “These new developments have created uncertainties of large-scale dimensions in every aspect of our lives, and our planet is still bleeding. The theme of uncertainty presented an occasion to express myself, rendering my artistic process a mystery to predict. The process resembled a search, because at its commencement, nothing was stable or secure. As an artist, I strived to find the path to complete the process, until my inner soul suggested that I had reached the end of it,” he explains.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to discern the artist’s many years in the profession of conservation and preservation, where paintings are scrutinised endlessly through the details of the work. Curator Profs. Joseph P. Cassar describes the artist’s process, saying “Spagnol’s work ranges from initial chaotic daubs of colour to more calculated strokes and other experimental processes, seeking a deeper meaning in the process of bringing the entire composition into a coherent whole. Each painting in this collection offers an intimate encounter, and when all works are experienced together, they compile a lifetime of fears, doubts, hopes and joys.
“As its sub-title Embracing Uncertainty… Unexpected Opportunities suggests, the exhibition is about the mystery of the creative process, how the artist concretises his dreams, and the ordinary is turned into sublime,” adds Cassar. “This collection speaks of the encounter between the artist and his materials, the nothingness of the initial blank, raw canvas – from where it all started – to the decisions and revisions that took place with every gesture, drip, scratch and brush stroke, all the while keeping reason in check so that the unconscious could run free”.
MSA President Arch. Adrian Mamo Curator invites everyone to visit this unique exhibition. “With Mystery and Process, the artist is not simply celebrating and showing his achievements, but also exposing the elaborate period of gestation that it takes for artworks to develop, as well as the labour, the risks and paths followed by the artist in his artistic journey,” he opines.
“Visitors are invited to look at the work closely, intimately and meditatively, but also with curiosity, while witnessing the surprises and the unfamiliar meanderings in the abstract compositions,” Cassar aptly concludes.
Mystery and Process by Anthony Spagnol and curated by Profs. Joseph P. Cassar is on between 23 June and 14 July 2022 at the Art Galleries of the Malta Society of Arts, Republic Street, Valletta. Entrance is free. For opening hours and more details please visit www.artsmalta.org or www.facebook.com/maltasocietyofarts.