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Featured Artist - Fabio Borg   Print  E-mail 
Submitted by Artissa Administrator  

We met Fabio at the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta, where he is holding his latest exhibition "Emotions and Passions". His work struck me immediately as very interesting, and to say the least, a real pleasure to look at.

Mind you, I am no professional art critic, especially when it comes to abstract art, so what I write is just my humble opinion, but with my better half, we usually disagree so much on what we like, that in those rare occasions when we do agree, it is bound to be something really good - and this was one of them.

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As we slowly strode through the open-air courtyard, which gave a unique and inimitable lighting to the various works on exhibition, it was clear that there is talent in the hand that created these artworks.

CRUCIFIXIONWhen Fabio arrived, we were greeted by a friendly, outgoing person with a will to reach new heights in his career. We are very glad to have found in Fabio a new collaborator in our venture.

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Bernadine Scicluna M.A. and published on the brochure of his 'Emotions and Passions' Exhibition.

This exhibition captivates for the bold treatment of hues blossoming from daring reds and pinks to caressing and subtle lavender and lilac tones that quickly transform into many shades of brown. Equally exciting are the furtive greens, sometimes illuminated by an underlying glimmer that also infuses life into the earth colours that tend to dominate in Fabio Borg's paintings. The blues state certain authority too as they are made to extend in varying intensities from an oceanic deep cobalt through to a rich cerulean and a light sapphire.

While enthralled by this chromatic verve, little is the viewer prepared for the exalting source of inspiration for these paintings: the Passion of Christ according to the Gospel of St John. Balance, Red Square, Blue and Green and Blue Room with the overall figurative language adopted by Borg would not remotely elicit any direct association with the Scriptures. Nevertheless Nicodemus, Jesus in the Garden or Crucifixion urge the spectator to look again carefully and begin to appreciate the tremendous impact of the contemplative oriented and not so historical account-based Gospel of St John on Borg.

BLUE ROOMChannelled into plummeting rivulets, cascading steep verticals, gently colliding squares and rectangles that either emerge forcefully or recede softly, colours symbolically allude to sin, evil, optimism, hope and passion. In Blue Room, the effervescent and mosaic presence of the blues represent the infidelity of Judas. Jade greens, blues and a few patches of indigo in Blue and Green unite in a subtle conflict reflecting the BLUE & GREEN tormenting internal struggle St Peter experienced when he was put to the test and failed as he thrice betrayed his Master.

This state of inner unrest takes free rein in Nicodemus where spiritual fragility is expressed through the action painted rush of lime greens, reds, yellows, pinks and blues hammering and slipping against the rising and floating boulder-like masses of acid-bitten textures. Though perhaps thematically related to Nicodemus, Confusion reveals a far more controlled state of mind. This introspective journey towards shedding uncertainty is communicated by unperturbed horizontals, verticals and converging areas of visually soothing surface textures. CONFUSIONA faint almost humble patch of golden light intermittently casts its influence as though symbolically alluding to a gradual awakening to divine wisdom. Bearing the intimacy of one's private relationship with God, Confusion, very much in tune with the Gospel of St John, speaks ultimately of hope despite dark times.

Out of the entire display, Under the Cross, UNDER THE CROSSthat in mood and colour finds its sibling in The Women in the Passion, is the only work injected with a heavy pessimism. The hazy purple gradations of the threatening sky together with the compact varying brown walls stained by frayed curtains of thick black patina cast a sense of impending doom. An incipient cataclysmic movement is felt in the restless motion of these bastion faces. However amidst this imminent destruction, the conspicuous patch of white imparts hope and victory just as the bright untouched area of canvas in THE WOMEN IN THE PASSIONThe Women in the Passion is a sign of Christ's kingship, therefore of optimism.

With the same vigour, the language of optimism threads its way into The Tomb. Enhanced by its black border, the egg shape of this painting not only strengthens its ties with Easter and its anticipating THE TOMBResurrection but is further reinforced by its allegorical connections with the idea of maternal expectancy. As in the spirit of Lack of Belief, this time Borg experiments with a new canvas shape converted, by means of subtle organic forms, into a powerful pregnant uterus. Yet again, the idea of death suggested by the ominous title of this painting is immediately substituted by the concept of life that with bated breath is about to be born/resurrected. LACK OF BELIEFAs in many paintings of this display, the vibrant and mottled textures and animated marriage of the cold and warm hues imbue this composition with a kind of buoyancy similarly detected in Balance. Interestingly enough, this latter work is the only other example where horizontals and verticals are replaced by hue-speckled arcs.

While not charged by the same devastating force as Under the Cross, Rolling Stone is driven by a similar tectonic energy that radiates and spirals. ROLLING STONEAlluding to the stone rolled out of Christ's entrance to the tomb, these massive blocks rotate almost in symbolic reference to the cycle of life, death and beyond. The characteristic mottled treatment of diluted oil paint drains these blocks of all sense of solidity and weight, possibly suggestive of the effortlessness with which the stone had been rolled aside. With unassuming grace, a spectral veil of white seeps into our view enough to understand the nascent miracle of life over death.

THREE POLESIn his securely held belief that art can act as an effective means for evangelization, Borg invites the viewer to brood over the profound levels that these paintings communicate while simultaneously quenching his parched spirit, caused by contemporary materialistic concerns. The convening of opposites in Three Poles, evinced by the liberally brush stroked patches adjacent to the well-defined central collage, itself contrasted by a reddish brown loosely stippled surface, calls for isolated musing in view of the current security-shattered reality we have become increasingly vulnerable to. By way of this work especially and, in varying doses, the rest of the paintings, Borg encourages us to ponder on the precious universal values of peace and mutual tolerance that need to be inexorably pursued…notwithstanding.

To have a look at the other images in the gallery, please follow this link.

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