Size: 297 x 210mm – series of 9 works (box framed)
Medium: Pencil and wash on foxed cartridge paper
Collection: The artist
THE MENTAL IMAGE IS AN IMPOSSIBILITY, IT DOES NOT EXIST
Rocks in a distance, mountains in the mist (2016) is a project which is realised through the procedural twinning of two of the most complex of processes that happen through the artist's body, in order to create 'works' that are situated within our understanding of the art of drawing, and situated in the liminal space between the genres of abstraction and figuration: on one hand the process rests on the nature of instinctive making, where through the use of tools normally associated with drawing, the hand automatically and instinctively executes marks through a command issued by the brain a split second before; and on the other, the concurrent approbation through visual meaning-making and automatic aestheticisation of the reading of the same marks, or more appropriately 'signs', by the brain through the faculty of sight.
Through establishing deliberate constraints on the drawing process, such as observing the action only through peripheral vision, using my left hand instead of my right (I am right-handed), and making the marks at intermitting speeds and varying aggression, the process is forced to come to a point of cessation not through any rational or aesthetic decision, but alternately when I arbitrarily decide that the action should stop and I should look at the work consciously, framing it head on and deliberately refraining from adding any other marks as a result of rationality. During this very short but intensive production process, I suppress all the artistic/aesthetic/cultural baggage that has conditioned my art practice along the years in order to activate a more innate and primal physical dimension.
These actions are frozen in their own states of becoming and await a raison d'être in order to justify a new existence and become an art product; a commodity that can be named (the title of the series is taken from a description of the work by an artist friend after seeing the work in an email correspondence), framed and hung on a wall.
The series forms part of my continued interest in Graphism, through an attempt to 'frame' the activity that happens within the half-second delay between the action of the brain and the reaction of the body, and in turn to question the complexity of the art-making process, its tools and the convention of its consumption by the viewer.
Title: It-Tragedja tas-Separazzjoni
Size: 333 x 240mm – series of 14 works (box framed)
Medium: Mixed media on Japanese paper
Collection: The artist
Those bound by a powerful love, such as the bonds between sisters, between a husband and wife, between a father and son, can suffer tragedies.
Flowerheads (2015-6) is an ongoing series of drawing-paintings on prepared paper, which explores the complex and fragile reality of man, (typified by the male/king) and of the foolhardiness brought about by our becoming conscious of our primacy – our heightened sense of superiority over nature, and to our false notion of nature’s helplessness without us. The series is predominantly motivated by Kant’s definition of the sublime as not residing in any of the things of nature, but only in our mind.
Common within all the works is the image of the crown as symbol of power and supremacy, but also of the burden that comes with such authority. Within the series, the crown is rendered in various forms; many times it is drawn as a flower, in agitation; or as a flowery bloom having spikes, and as a cover for the head (a device for taking over of the male brain).
The title of the series is borrowed from urban slang, where a ‘flowerhead’ is a male who is considered cute by the female sex, but also undateable. This metaphor is haplessly extended through its common aesthetic, that of the heads being always shown decapitated and on plinths. The heads therefore become objects of duality, venerated art-objects placed on public show and also prophetic proof of the fate of martyrdom, an embodiment of the price equally paid for being at the top, or confronting populist opinion or fanatic belief.
Size: 330 x 245mm – ongoing series
Medium: Pencil and charcoal on Japanese paper
Collection: The artist
"... the interior of a rose does not at all correspond to its exterior beauty; if one tears off all of the corolla's petals, all that remains is a rather sordid tuft. Other flowers, it is true, present very well-developed and undeniably elegant stamens, but appealing again to common sense, it becomes clear on close examination that this elegance is rather satanic: thus certain kinds of fat orchids, plants so shady that one is tempted to attribute to them the most troubling human perversions. But even more than by the filth of its organs, the flower is betrayed by the fragility of its corolla: thus, far from answering the demands of human ideas, it is the sign of their failure. In fact, after a very short period of glory the marvelous corolla rots indecently in the sun, thus becoming, for the plant, a garish withering. Risen from the stench of the manure pile - even though it seemed for a moment to have escaped it in a flight of angelic and lyrical purity - the flower seems to relapse abruptly into its original squalor: the most ideal is rapidly reduced to a wisp of aerial manure. For flowers do not age honestly like leaves, which lose nothing of their beauty, even after they have died; flowers wither like old and overly made-up dowagers, and they die ridiculously on stems that seemed to carry them to the clouds."
“The Language of Flowers.”
Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939., Translated by Allan Stoekl with Carl R. Lovitt and Donald M. Leslie, Jr., University of Minnesota, 1985.