Friday, October 25, 2013
My project "Ageing Mirrors", which took most of my creative time during the last three years, has reached a mature stage. This experimental photographic work is a biographical and social documentary that sheds light on the continuous and influential changes taking place on the personal, the social and the political levels. This contemporary project takes a completely different stance from my artworks, mostly paintings, which were produced throughout the last ten years. Now it is a matter of deciding where and when to exhibit this collection of works.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Natasha Mifsud reviews Christopher Saliba's latest exhibition of paintings (The Sunday Times of Malta - December 2, 2012)
Abstracted landscapes take centre stage at Christopher Saliba’s latest collection of works, ‘Places Revisited’, which are being exhibited at Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, Valletta. The exhibition consists of 20 semi-abstract landscape paintings that were executed throughout the past couple of years. Saliba’s neo-expressionist paintings, though inventive, never lose touch with their source in nature. He often draws outdoors and feeds on direct perceptions that counterbalance the more synthetic process that develops in his studio. It is the real experience of the landscape that comes through in the palpable atmospheres Saliba manages to conjure. Vibrant colour chords and carefully adjusted tonal modulations glow beneath gestural strokes, forming complex layered surfaces. Saliba’s lyrical scenes range from deftly rendered observations to nature-based concoctions with invented and autonomous colour harmonies. Crucial to his own artistic process is the stage between his sensory experience of external stimuli and the act of creating an image. This phase of internal gestation allows impressions and feelings to germinate and ripen, unconsciously and in their own time, until brought forth in the act of artistic creation. This tendency towards abstraction is determined by his inclusion of purely abstract elements. Saliba’s paintings suggest rather than describe landscape components and perspectives. The push and pull between representation and abstraction is evident in the artist’s interpretation of the local landscape genre. Spatial relationships are subverted and suggestive forms and shapes appear to be subtly dislocated. This is evident in the facture of his painted surfaces: agglomerations of distinct, often dry-brushed pigments, textures, concoctions and juxtapositions of complex fields of colour. Saliba is bold in scale and experimental with materials, creating multi-layered works that are rich in texture and stratigraphy - the outcome of patient scraping, scouring and re-layering of paint. What finally emerges after months of hard work is a numinous, radiant and evocative body of work, fuelled by an inner light that emanates a profound spirituality. Central to Saliba’s creative approach is the desire to create and to celebrate beauty – the beauty of natural and man-made configurations, of the fragility and mutability of matter in time and place. And if beauty is about the creation of meaningful appearances, then Saliba’s abstracted landscapes are indeed viscerally beautiful artefacts, inspired by and evoking natural beauty. They are, in the artist’s own words, “freeze-framed in time and motion – specific, but always eluding and defying absolute definition.” Saliba has put up several exhibitions since 2002 at the National Museum of Fine Arts, at St. James Centre for Creativity, at the Auberge d’Italie and at the Auberge de Castille in Valletta. His works have also been exhibited in Perugia, London, Paris and Palermo. ‘Places Revisited’ runs until May 30 at Chetcuti Cauchi, 120, St. Ursula Street , Valletta.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The last time I exhibited my landscape paintings in Malta was at the National Museum of Fine Arts in 2006. The works displayed , all of which belong now to private and public collections, were well received by the general public. Six years have passed by, but it was not until these last few months that I have been toying with the idea of organising another exhibition of this kind. It was just a matter of finding a suitable place at the right time. Recently, I reached an agreement with Chetcuti Cauchi - a popular legal and financial firm in Valletta - that offered me the possibility to station my work in the heart of the city for six whole months. Besides having the possibility to visit my gallery in Gozo, interested art lovers would therefore be able to view my work in Malta as well. More or less twenty pieces shall grace the spacious walls of this sumptuous building, with replacements being made whenever there are any purchases. Most of the paintings displayed will feature my personal interpretation of local landscapes, and these would be complemented by a couple of abstract works.The exhibition will be officially open on 30 December. More information coming up soon.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Somewhere at the edge of a cliff, lead weights hold a wooden sheet in a precarious position. Below this cliff, waves could be heard smashing against the rocks. At the other extreme, a thin transparent glass vessel appears more fragile than ever before. 1kg of pure blue pigment is held in equilibrium, somewhere between earth, the sky and the sea.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I would like to thank all those who have been following my blog throughout these years. The number of daily visits encourages me to keep this blog active with regular updates. Some have even sent me e-mails and asked me whether there are any exhibitions in the pipeline. I am presently busy on a daily basis in my studio, where commissioned works take most of my time.New works, mostly paintings, have been unfolding regularly. A new collection of abstract works is also gradually taking shape and I am keeping it aside for a future show. I am taking my time to find the right opportunity and venue to exhibit my work. As regards contemporary art, some new ideas and projects related to interventions on the natural environment are ready to be developed and documented. I am very excited about the finalisation of these projects and it is just a matter of a few months when life on the sister island becomes less hectic and photographic documentation is facilitated by the sensual autumn light. Roaming around unspoilt and solitary natural spaces makes me feel at ease - it is in such places where some of my ideas and thoughts are staged, away from the hustle and bustle and formalities of everyday life. My other project, Aging Mirrors, is still in progress and will take longer than expected to complete.