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Featured Artist - Helga Portanier   Print  E-mail 
Submitted by Artissa Administrator  

Written by Alex Vella Gera'

Helga Photos 008 (5)While on the surface Helga Portanier's paintings are pictorial representations of the physical world (trees, landscapes, plains, etc.), her pictures offer much more to the discerning eye. Qamar Kwinta(Helga Portanier)Each dab of paint, each wash or line, so delicate yet firm in its place in the picture, serves as a pillar holding up to the viewer a rendering of reality both fragile and distinct, almost as if the artist held her eyes half shut while at the same time keeping them wide open to the forms of thought held within the images.Ghal Mro. Pawlu Grech(Helga Portanier)

Helga Portanier was born in St. Julians, Malta in 1980. She received artistic tuition from Mro. Pawlu Grech whilst studying History of Art and Theatre Studies at the University of Malta. After completing her studies, Helga read for a Masters degree in the History of Chinese and Japanese ink painting at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Seeing and studying the works and techniques of such a rich artistic heritage was essential to broaden and deepen her painterly language.

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Art Primordjal (II)(Helga Portanier)This painterly tradition is distinct in the way content and form, the means of the artist and the subject-matter are inextricably linked, evoking an immediate visual resonance. In Helga Portanier's work this symbioses of content and form is the ideal vehicle leading to an engaging and displacing visual truth where what we see is rarely what is really there. Indeed, some works are so pictorially hazy and insubstantial, one is almost tempted to reach out and peal each and every line and blotch of colour off the paper surface to see what lies underneath, what is holding them in place. 'Qamar Kwinta', 'III' and 'Hjut il - Holqien', inevitably come to mind.

Waqt ta' Ftuh(Helga Portanier)The lines and the contours of each painting also remind us of maps which lead the eye on a journey as wholly satisfying as it is bound to have us lose our way, unused as we are to certain intricacies of form and vastness of space. Through an economy of style, a wide vocabulary of brush strokes and restrained use of colour, these pictures are elevated to depictions of unreal realities, or iii(Helga Portanier)realities transformed into the mythical, and with an intelligent use of somewhat naive painterly qualities the mythical, the unreal is rendered into an everyday reality.

But these are not paintings which strain the eye. They are like music one needs to listen to over and over again, lest one loses out on some particularly evocative melodic strain.

Art Primordjali (I)(Helga Portanier)Helga currently teaches drawing and painting to adults and children. She is also a visiting lecturer at the Theatre Studies Program, University of Malta where she tutors theatre literature and gives courses on Asian theatre.

Her first solo exhibition will be taking place at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta from the 28th April - 24th May.

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