Collective exhibition by seven international artists at the Malta Society of Arts

A visual arts show comprising works in different mediums.
Wingshadows, by Sallyanne Morgan.

Hover-Still, organised by Lily Agius Gallery, is now open at the Art Galleries of the Malta Society of Arts (MSA) in Valletta. The collective exhibition includes works by Eiko Borcherding, CO-MA, Stephanie Galea, Luca Indraccolo, Sallyanne Morgan, Ivan Prieto and Julien Vinet.

The exhibition comprises works in different mediums, all inspired by the poem Go Fishing by Ted Hughes. Offering an interpretation of the literary work in their own distinctive styles, the works on display at will include oil paintings, drawings, photography, and sculpture.

Commenting on the idea behind this exhibition, curator Lily Agius reveals that Hover-Still will be the first of a series of collective exhibitions in Malta and abroad to be held with artists from her gallery. Agius continues to explain that for artists, poetry is often a fertile source of imagery that leads to inspiration for visual readings.

Go Fishing, by Ted Hughes, was chosen to set the mood for the exhibition. It presents life’s challenges at its most poignant moments. The words Hover-Still, from the poem itself, felt the most appropriate title as they create the right setting: to be present in the current moment, before the next moment begins,” she says.

“As an art promotor, my role is to present fine art any way I can. For this exhibition, I chose to exhibit a mixed media show by a varied group of excellent fine artists from Malta, Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland, and showcase a perspective of each artist in their own style,” continues Agius. “It has been almost 20 years since I organised the first exhibition in Malta, and I still enjoy every step of the process: from its conception, the collaboration with the artists and others involved, to the opening event and meeting those with the same appreciation for fine art.”

One of the seven artists, Italian-born Luca Indraccolo offers further insight into how Ted Hughes’ poem influenced his work for Hover-Still. “The mention of ‘rainbow monster-structures’ suggests a sense of unpredictability and elusiveness in the face of the natural world,” he says. “In one of my works to be shown at the MSA, the battle between fishermen and fish represents the eternal struggle between man and nature, highlighting our quest for control, dominance, and the pursuit of goals that may seem beyond reach. In my creative process, I employ a combination of loose brushwork and precise rendering, creating a balance between realism and expressive mark-making. Through this dynamic brushwork, I want to add energy and vitality to my paintings.”

Irish artist Sallyanne Morgan, who spent many years living in Malta, uses the human figure to animate ideas, to distil and freeze in time a moment of emotional expression captured in form. “I work from the inside out, matching internal narratives with outward posture and gesture. I alter body parts – to enable figures to appear both realistic and surreal,” explains Morgan. “The poem Go Fishing describes an emergence from deep reverie and the propulsion back to reality. I have tried to articulate and embody certain lines from this work, such as in Wing Shadow, which for me evokes a sense of reluctance or a moment between two worlds.”

Spanish artist Ivan Prieto’s reading of the poem led him to create sculptures using the human body or parts of it. “I think what the author is trying to communicate is the feeling of connection with the divine, with God, with Tao, or nothingness – it doesn’t matter what name it is given. There is a kind of meditation and attention to nature. Just being there connected to everything. My characters usually talk about silence and like meditation,” he reflects. “They are struggling with their thinking that sometimes is shaped in different forms (such as hands that express desire), other times they are looking for balance through a dance with life (inflatables). Fragility is the essence of these figurines that from one moment to another can deflate (inspiration and expiration, life and death).”

German Eiko Borcherding used the poem to create pencil and mixed media drawings on found fragile paper. For Hover-Still, Borcherding created works in his typical unique style, using his findings of vintage paper scraps and old book covers in flea markets or antique stores to create his drawings.

MSA President Arch. Adrian Mamo is looking forward to the opening of Hover-Still in this new collaboration with Lily Agius Gallery. “As the MSA, we believe in the power of building relationships, so we’re delighted to host this exciting collective show of artists in what hopefully will be the first in a series of collaborations with Lily Agius Gallery,” he says.

The exhibition Hover-Still presents artwork by Eiko Borcherding, CO-MA, Stephanie Galea, Luca Indraccolo, Sallyanne Morgan, Ivan Prieto and Julien Vinet. It is curated by Lily Agius and sponsored by iLab. Photo and BAS Ltd. It is open until July 20 at the Art Galleries of the Malta Society of Arts, 219 Republic Street, Valletta. For more information and enquiries contact Lily Agius Gallery on info@lilyagiusgallery.com or +356 9929 2488. For opening hours please visit www.artsmalta.org or www.facebook.com/maltasocietyofarts.

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