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‘Paintings to dance to’ launches new GEMA initiative

‘Paintings to dance to’ launches new GEMA initiative

Wednesday night saw the launch of a new initiative introducing small monthly art exhibitions at GEMA – the Gibraltar Exhibition of Modern Art.

The first features artist and president of the Fine Arts Association Paul Cosquieri who is presenting a new series of large scale abstract paintings entitled ‘paintings to dance to’ inspired by the music he was listening to at the time of creating these works.

The Gibraltar Exhibition of Modern Art, if you have not yet visited, is packed with some of the best contemporary works from artists currently working in Gibraltar belonging to the Gibraltar Collection. This latest initiative by Gibraltar Cultural Services will aim to display new, current, fresh, immediate and even unknown works alongside the permanent collection.

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The official opening was carried out by Culture Minister Steven Linares who supports this latest initiative and commented on the venues historical importance and location.

“We want to open it up and bring in the artists,” he told those present.

“We want GEMA to become an artistic hub and art space,” he added.

“So, spread the word.”

Painting to Dance  130219 ( Photo John Bugeja ) exhibition by Paul Cosquieri of large format paintings

Painting to Dance 130219 ( Photo John Bugeja ) exhibition by Paul Cosquieri of large format paintings

Gibraltar Cultural Services Chief Executive, Seamus Byrne, told the Chronicle the intention was to get more artists to exhibit their latest work alongside the contemporary artworks.

In order to continue to further promote the gallery GCS is also working with the Gibraltar Tourist Board to create a strategy to get more locals and tourists to visit GEMA on a more regular basis.

A recent art treasure hunt was held for the schools with GCS also working with the Education Department to ensure more school children visit GEMA and all other local galleries.

WELCOMED MOVE
As president of the Fine Arts Association Mr Cosquieri has welcomed the move which he believes will help provide new opportunities for artists whilst at the same time raising the profile of the gallery and of those artists exhibiting.

His latest series is made up of large scale abstract paintings mingled with collage mainly taken from glossy magazines and various other abstract techniques.

Mr Cosquieri has recently completed a large scale mural for the University of Gibraltar Common Room, and is currently representing Gibraltar alongside other local artists in the “Easterly Winds” exhibition in the Diputación de Cadiz curated by Magda Bellotti, where he is also exhibiting his large scale abstract canvases belonging to this series.

ART AND MUSIC

“I always dance throughout the entire painterly process. Music is my great inspiration and whenever I paint there is music accompanying the process. Music helps me get in the zone,” says the artist who decided his new series should be called “paintings to dance to”.

He describes this new series as his “best to date” which are purely abstract and he is having loads of fun painting them.

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“I’m not interested in whether they sell or not, and I do them primarily for me. They are at their purest. As to materials and techniques, I use primarily household paints and I use the most primitive of techniques which is simply to “throw” the paint at the canvas, plus a little bit of collage thrown in. I also apply a lot of other painting techniques such as using my hands to spread the paint or using sticks etcetera to scrape the paint off.”

This new phase in his artistic path, he says, carries a great freedom.

“I have finally, and after a whole life dedicated to art and art related activities, reached the conclusion that as an artist one has to first and foremost please oneself, and not care about what people have to say or more importantly whether the work sells or not.”

Always wanting to paint on a large scale he now feels he is free to truly experiment.

He now paints on an unstretched canvas (which is what you will see on display at GEMA) which he buys in rolls and staples to his studio wall and paint them over. Once finished he just rolls them up and puts them away. This makes them easier to store.

Going abstract, he explains, just seemed the logical progression to his work.

“I’m going to the purest essence of painting, which, like music and dance is fundamentally abstract in nature.”

This latest body of work he feels tells of how he is constantly evolving as an artist.

“One has to constantly grow as an artist and more importantly, as a person. Last year was quite a challenging year and the fact that I suffered a stroke has completely changed my outlook on life. It has made me realise many important things, one of them being our mortality.

So basically I have come to prioritise a lot and not to plan too far ahead. Now I mainly try to do the things that please me and leave other things aside. Painting these large scale abstract paintings are real fun to me. So is listening to music and reading, and I’m doing a lot of it now.”

OTHER CHALLENGES
Mr Cosquieri has recently completed a large scale mural for the University of Gibraltar Common Room, and is currently representing Gibraltar alongside other local artists in the “Easterly Winds” exhibition in the Diputación de Cadiz curated by Magda Bellotti, where he is also exhibiting his large scale abstract canvases belonging to this series.

Meanwhile the GEMA exhibition will open daily – 11am to 3pm – until Tuesday 5 March.

Pics: Johnny Bugeja

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