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An Interview With Rupert Cefai, Gordon Pace Flores and Bernard Bonnici   Print  E-mail 
Submitted by Artissa Administrator  

untitled-02Vertical Flow #1Bernard Bonnici, Rupert Cefai and Gordon Pace Flores have come together to exhibit a collection of their different work. Each has taken their theme from a subtitle in the mathematical book Four Figure Tables, the exhibition opens on the 12th of May at the Manoel Theatre Café in Valletta and will remain open until the  31st of May. This exhibition includes Bernard’s photography, Rupert’s paintings, and Gordon’s calligraphy, each complimenting and contrasting the other media, creating a feast for the senses.

As the three artists with a long-standing friendship binding them gear up to set up their collective exhibition, we've spoken to them to learn who they are, about their life and their art.

I met up with the artists at a local pub – I found them sipping beer and reminising abut times gone by. The scene distinctly reminds me of the stereotypical local elderly men sitting in the village pjazza and discussing the philosophy of life. All three are old boys of Mikiel Vassalli, Handaq Boys Junior Lyceum, this is where their friendship began - in the classrooms of secondary education....

Rupertbuilding composition in yellow red and purpleRupert Cefai (Gallery/ Feature/ Discuss): He began studying art at an early age under the tutelage of various masters, such as, A. Chircop and H. Alden, who influenced his talent along with other masters such as W. Apap and Monty Python. Today his art reflects his enjoyment of all subjects ranging from the human figure through to abstracts and landscapes. He is fascinated with that blend and balance in art that stands on the line between the real and the abstract, portraying this effectively in his work. Merging strong colours and texture, Rupert uses oils and acrylics on both board and canvas.

GordonUntitled #1Gordon Pace Flores (Gallery/ Feature/ Discuss): Educated at Liceo Vassalli, the University of Malta and Oxford University, Gordon became fascinated by calligraphy in the early 90s, but was gradually put off by the strict constraints of traditional calligraphy, which reminded him of the tedious school exercises when still learning to write. In the late nineties, he discovered contemporary calligraphy, and became especially enamoured with gestural calligraphy. When living in France, he discovered Arabic calligraphy, which also became a major influence on his work. The abstraction of figurative painting, forbidden in the Koran complemented the western contemporary calligraphy trend, of transforming writing from a means of communication to an abstract decorative art. Pace's work abstracts calligraphy to render a collage of abstract patterns and alpha-numeric symbols.

Bernard007 Prayer FlagsBernard Bonnici (Gallery/ Feature/ Discuss): As a photographer, he has captured on film a colourful variety of themes, from restless wintry seas to dusky summer skies. He has also pursued his quest for adventure travel. In the company of his backpack, this ambition has taken him trekking a cross foreign continents. This exhibition brings together his passions for life and nature and is captured as transitory moment using the slow synch technique. This is manifested through such a combination which was simply waiting to happen.

Why an exhibition together? Why not three separate exhibitions?
Three different media should make it more interesting…Something different…Not the usual thing…

Ok, so why Four Figure Tables?
(laughter and smiles all round)…cause we are three artists…we needed a theme…The subtitles of Four Figure Tables worked for us so we went with it…besides it should confuse people, don’t you think?

And you want to confuse people?
No not intentionally…but make them think…consider the possibilities…live…

One word to describe your work?
RC: paintings
GPF: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
BB: Cheers

What inspires you?
RC: The box-like shape of our buildings, our square-roots
Calligraphy2GPF: I am a compulsive reader. Seeing symbols which can be deciphered into sound, then possibly meaning compels me to read them. No, not just books - I read notices, graffiti, the notes people write on their hands ... Yes, I am one of those who do read the small print in legal documents. The paradox of using letters not to represent what the sound they encrypt means, but for their shape, texture, weight and feel fascinates me. In a certain sense this is the opposite of the way we process colour. We see a painting, and consiously we see the image. 003 It-TuttuUnless we force it into our consious level, we only process the symbolism of the colours subconsiously. Conversely, in my paintings, one automatically tries to read and process the letters as symbols in a text, and only processes the painting as a whole at a subconsious level. It is only by stepping back, and forcing oneself to switch off the brain from the automatic reading mode that the whole picture starts to emerge. This paradox is right at the heart of the work I am exhibiting.
BB: The Gozitan andscape however is probably my first true love. It has withstood the test of time and remains, for me, a dominant inspiration.square roots 01

You all do other things in life…so why can I call you an artist?
RC: My wife says I’m an artist, so I just believe her!
GPF: I finally got my Art ‘O’ Level, that’s my qualification
BB: I think, I feel, I am an artist


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