This solo exhibition – the tenth one in the artist’s career – presents a series of deliberately small and intimate works produced in the last few months by Gozitan artist Mark Sagona (b.1976). It continues on his previous abstract production which kicked off in his important personal show at St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Valletta in 2004 (curated by Joseph Paul Cassar). Since then, his bold, powerful take on light and feeling has developed into a strong language of form and colour. Today, his paintings form part of the National Collection and are present in several public and private collections around the globe, from the United States to China.
The present collection focuses on the concept of deep inner feeling which is transmitted through a continuous research on light and colour. The artist believes that abstraction is the purest form of art where he can convey the situation of his psyche in a direct, immediate and unshackled manner. The most recent works are a combination of particular and specific moments of the artist’s state of mind in a given time. Each work is mixed with an aesthetic concern for light, colour and composition. The works, albeit small in dimension, are very strong and dense in the emotion they convey. They also show an evolution of a visual language which has been mutating over time, occasionally with the use of different media and materials.
This exhibition will take place on the 10th anniversary of the artist’s last personal show in Valletta which took place at the National Museum of Fine Arts in South Street in November-December 2008 (curated by Sandro Debono). The new collection will be presented alongside previous works which show the artist’s journey from a figurative artist to abstraction. Contrary to his previous shows, where the artist had experimented with much larger dimensions, the artist creates works which flow directly and immediately from his present state of mind. The artist continues to experiment with the immediate moment where he attacks the canvas spontaneously. One of the goals of this exhibition is to engage the audience with the artist’s artistic metamorphosis and juxtapose the recent corpus of works with earlier production. This will therefore be an occasion to compare production of a different nature, which differs also technically and conceptually.
Sagona’s abstract works have sprung from his early engagement with natural and man-made forms. These concerns had appeared in his exhibitions of the early 2000s, but the figurative has equally evolved concurrently with the abstracts. The present exhibition presents also an occasion to take note of the artist’s voyage in the past eighteen years, following his artistic evolution from the days when he emerged on the local scene as a fresh art graduate from the University of Malta, to the present day as a Ph.D. graduate and a member of staff of the Department of Art and Art History, Faculty of Arts of the University of Malta where he also leads classes in drawing and painting. The recent works have also been enriched by other experiences, such as his recent lecturing visit to the Art College at Xiamen University, China.
This exhibition is being organised by Valerio Ballotta of GBK Malta Ltd and project coordinator Christian Zammit. GBK Malta Ltd has been recently responsible for the organisation of the exhibitions Picasso and his friends, Manet Etchings: the Alfred Strölin edition of 1905, and Graphic Works by the Great Masters, together with the presentation of the book Tra il mito e la favola bella by renowned Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi at the University of Malta, Valletta Campus.
Nikki Petroni, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art and Art History, Faculty of Arts, University of Malta, is the curator of the exhibition. An exhibition catalogue, with an essay by Ms Petroni, will also be published.
The event is being held under the auspices of the Arts Council Malta and the Department of Art and Art History, Faculty of Arts, University of Malta. This exhibition is endorsed by the Valletta 2018 Foundation.