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Brief notes on

"Pages from a Diary"

Exhibition at BMGART
April – May 2000

There are two words scribbled on the walls of my studio : Clarify - Simplify. These two words mark the parameters of my sense of aesthetics. Since aesthetics is for me the major, if not the only, concern of a painter. Painting, as I said many times before, has an inappropriate vocabulary to comment with precision on socio-political problems. A painter busies himself or herself with surface, with colour, with a dot and a line and the relationship between them. All the rest is bunkum.

I steadfastly refuse to give up on the possibilities of painting in the traditional manner (ie. flat surface, brushes, paint etc.). I’m sure that Abstract Expressionism is still a valid vehicle to explore beauty.

My art has only to do with the visual. I cannot explain my paintings to a second person, apart from saying that they are “abstract”; any other verbalization would be absurd. A painting that can successfully be described is irrelevant. Any work of art, music, poetry, sculpture etc. that can be rendered perfectly in another medium, indicates that it was created with a language not exclusive to itself.

I do not believe in inspiration.

I paint because, without my volition, I happen to wake up in the morning. The alternative to me not painting is too boring to contemplate. What moves me to paint in a certain way and not another, is not the scent of cyclamens, is not the wind raffling the leafs on my balcony, is not the fleeting shadow of birds flying above, is not sex, is not love, nor is something obscure like life or even like death, is not ... etc. etc.; but it is me being what I am.

I do not believe in symbols, I do not trust metaphors.

Anything that is open to interpretation, for me, is not precise enough. If someone has something to say and wants to be understood, should not speak in riddles. Therefore my works should be accepted or rejected for what they are, as they do not stand for something else. To see in them something I’ve not put there is a personal choice and a sacrosanct right of the viewer, for which I’m not responsible. Any interpretation or misreading of any work of art does not take away or add one iota to what that particular work, undeniably and unchangeably, is. The observer, by observation alone, does not and cannot change the observed.


Brief notes on

"Impetus Interrupted"

Exhibition at Marlene Antico Fine Arts
March – April 2001

I happen to believe that most works of art are never finished. They are simply suspended. The painter, like the poet or the composer, would like to have the possibility of going back and continue to work, to modify, to erase and change his creation until the end. Death is the only thing that makes the full opus of the artist definitive.

In this series of works, I stopped painting when the initial impetus, that compelled me to pick up colours and brushes, dwindled somewhat and become less urgent. Of course I could have continued to paint on and on or to paint until the work reached a more “polished” stage. But I decided to stop working on my canvases, consciously, when correction started to overtake spontaneity.

For me, exhibiting “unfinished” paintings, is not an experiment in trying to keep the original idea and hoping to preserve some kind of freshness – it is a statement. Creation happens, not when the artist begins or when he is working on a project, but when he puts down his tools, his pen, his brushes, his chisel, or his flute.

Each painting in this exhibition is dedicated to a different poet of the recent past, that trough their writing, have spoken to me in a simple and crystalline way. I share with them the feeling that art should be clear and unpretentious.

In art, as in life, I find beauty in clarity and simplicity.


Brief notes on

"Not Beyond The Visual"

Exhibition at Marlene Antico Fine Arts
14th August – 4th September 2002

I title this exhibition “Not Beyond The Visual” mainly because I believe that all visual things: objets, trees, stones, paintings etc. should always be accepted for what they are, for what they appear to be. If possible, I would like my viewer not to read between the lines, or in this case between the brush strokes. I would like the viewer to be a witness, not an interpreter of my abstracts.

Heptalogue of random thoughts about the exhibition:

  • To look at any of my canvases, one should ideally pay attention to what is, just as it is.
  • My paintings do not try to mean, but simply to be.
  • I believe that presence precedes essence.
  • Nothing exists besides existence itself.
  • Poetry and spirituality are not hidden behind what is, but they are a state of being, a state of existing.
  • A poetical or a spiritual life is an intuitive life, at ease with the world of things that are, not with a world of make-believe.
  • Beauty, tranquillity and joy come from the knowledge of things real, not from the obstinate search for what is not, and can never possibly be.

Brief notes on

"Madrigal"

Exhibition at Marlene Antico Fine Arts
2nd March – 24th March 2005

Each painting ever painted; has always been painted in a moment of personal history. This group of canvases were created in periods of calm, in periods of relative harmony when matter, time and space seemed to be one – once again. They were painted in moments when even life, despite its innate obsolescence and unnecessariness, incongruously seemed to make sense, seemed to have value.

I wanted to express in these paintings the weightlessness and lyricism of the 14th & 15th century Italian poems called: madrigali – those elegant verses, dealing with gentle and light subjects. The word “madrigal” comes from the Late Latin matricalis meaning in this case “from the womb” – freshly sprung from the womb, simple and new.

My madrigals wanted to reflect my rare moments of bliss, my surprising moments of tranquillity. But that calm turned out to be: “the calm before the storm”. And the storm inevitably came. Prepotently, darkly came.

Nonetheless these canvases remain in my “opus” as a testament of what once briefly was, and appears to be utterly beyond reach now – a record of moments that were real and soft and that are irretrievably lost. Yet with their colours and forms, outside myself, they seem to be present and alive still. And they will go on living without me, with an existence peculiar to them and them alone.