Visual art exhibition ‘The Summing Up’ by Richard Saliba opens this Friday 25 September 2020 at the Art Galleries of Palazzo de La Salle, the seat of Malta’s oldest art institution – the Malta Society of Arts (MSA). The retrospective exhibition, curated by Roderick Camilleri, will showcase a collection of paintings and etchings covering the different periods, styles, subjects and mediums that have characterised Saliba’s career in the past 45 years and more.
This will be the MSA’s second exhibition since re-opening its doors to the public after months of closure because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Society will be taking all the necessary safety precautions including the use of masks and hand sanitisers, as well as applying social distancing measures and checking temperatures.
Artist Richard Saliba is best known for his landscape paintings, particularly his atmospheric Maltese landscapes characterised by the use of vibrant colours reminiscent of the Mediterranean, and featuring silhouetted churches or other structures in the background. Over the years, Saliba’s work developed into more simplified landscapes, which led to his transition to abstract. For over a decade from the late 1990s to the early 2010s, the artist concentrated on this abstract work, greatly influenced by what was then known as the New York school, while in more recent years, he started creating portraits and figure drawings and paintings.
Curator Roderick Camilleri explains that the exhibition will attempt to give a glimpse of Saliba’s different phases in his career, set in a way that creates a conversation between older and newer works, focussing on his signature use of colour, on the way he builds his compositions and on his stylisation. Each one of Palazzo de La Salle’s four main gallery halls will feature Saliba’s major types of works – Portraits, Landscapes, Abstracts and Figures – all of which have been selected from the artist’s own collection.
With a career spanning over 50 years and a large number of works under his belt, choosing which pieces went into this retrospective was not a straightforward task. However, as Saliba commented, the conversations between himself and Camilleri led to a selection which is the most appropriate for this particular exhibition which aims to showcase the artist’s varied body of work.
‘The Summing Up’ by Richard Saliba is open from 25 September to 15 October 2020 at the Art Galleries of the Malta Society of Arts, Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta. Opening hours are from Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, and Saturdays 10am to 1pm. Entrance is free, and subject to public health authorities’ guidelines. For more information visit artsmalta.org/events