Looking Beyond

There is the popular belief that we look at art in search of beauty but that's not really it; what we are truly looking for is that moment of emotive connection that touches our core.  Beauty is frivolous, emotions of this kind are not.  They stay with you and shape you, altering imperceptibly but definitely how you experience life.

It is what those who merely attempt to reproduce the beauty that they see around them as faithfully as possible lack, at least as personal tastes are concerned.  I need work that forces me to look beyond and deeper.

That is what is captivating about Alex Dalli’s work, a selection of which is being intimately exhibited at the Muzew tas-Santwarju in Zabbar until the 14th of January.  You have to spend time with it to truly appreciate it; you need to get close to it to see the various infinitely small inflections to his paintings that give them depth.  Only in that manner can you feel the power of the thoughts and feelings that he wants to transmit.    It is then that you get to experience the quasi-spiritual emotion that only art can deliver.

In PAX, as this exhibition has been titled, Dalli’s minimalist approach leaves a mark.  He is not afraid empty spaces so that the focus falls completely on his subject, a bold approach but one that pays off.  It forces the viewer to work to understand the message and it is in that effort that a connection emerges.

His brilliance also lies in the detail of the paintings starting from their basis – plywood instead of canvases to give it additional texture – and the technique of layering paint and then occasionally etching in it to give it all an embossed look.  No matter how long you look at it, you find yourself noticing different nuances the closer you examine which makes for an enriching and fulfilling experience.

Which for me is what makes viewing art such a precious delight.


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