This week I took a stroll through Victoria’s ancient narrow streets, due south from Santa Savina Church, along Triq Santa Marja and into Triq Librerija where the oldest library in Gozo is tucked quietly away, and as the street widened out behind Pjazza Sant Wistin, I found what I was looking for – the art..e gallery, an intimate arched space which is currently presenting a series of vibrant new paintings by local artist Vince Caruana.
In this select exhibition Coordinates, each of the paintings depicts a real view of buildings and boats, hillocks or high ground – the coordinates with which each is labelled tell you exactly where to find each spot which The Significant Other and I thought was a cool touch. And whilst the photogenic fishing village of Marsaxlokk and the dome of Marsamxett, for example, have inspired hundreds of artists before him, with strong bold colours and sweeping curves, a geometric flavour and contemporary flair, Caruana adds his own spectacular twist to popular Maltese and Gozitan landscapes to make them his own.
The pieces are suggestive of an other-world rich with passionate hues and wistful blues, and white light seems to burst from these paintings with an almost spiritual intensity: the viewer feels pulled right in as the layered cubist abstraction of each promises more – it’s as if there’s a whole story dancing before you for the taking beneath a broad sky. See the church of Marsalforn (36°04’17.6”N 14°15’37.0”E), a stunning white silhouetted against a surprising red and reflected in the bay below, and you’ll want to discover more about this building which, set slightly back from waterside, can pass unnoticed by the tourist hustle on the beach. I was captivated.
Clearly the visitors who had come before me were equally taken with the paintings on these sandstone walls – every piece was already stickered to show it was sold. I am told however that Caruana has a studio in Ghajnsielem, two minutes walk from the village’s main square, which he occasionally opens to the public. I’m already looking forward to it.
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