Art has always been a way in which we are able to express deeply personal feelings and play with themes that we are able to identify with, in some shape or form.
Over the past two years, Maria Borg has been putting together her second solo exhibition of oil paintings depicting textures of fabrics and bedsheets with all their different connotations. In this, Borg explores themes of absence through presence, longing and loss.
After a long period of inactivity, Touch Me brings a series of 23 works to the Malta Society of Arts’ (MSA) seat at Palazzo de La Salle in Valletta from the 3rd to 24th June 2021.
“In many ways, I feel that the unproductive time helped fuel and push me to work as hard as I could once I got the opportunity to start painting again,” Borg revealed. “I am very intrigued by different textures, what they connote and the challenge of painting them.”
“The act of painting these materials is an important layer in itself, while another layer Is what it depicts; the objects, words and phrases.”
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Borg revealed that the inspiration behind this exhibition organically came about through over two years’ worth of work.
“I never really sat down and decided that I was going to create an exhibition about absence or about longing, which is another theme which the work identifies with”, she explained. “My work has always surrounded the themes of presence and absence and I feel like the way I paint and the colours I choose to transmit a certain aura that makes the work consistent and ‘of its own world’”.
The 23 works of Touch Me on display include 16 oils on canvas – which is Borg’s preferred medium – four diptychs, a painting on two hinged wooden panels which may be closed like a book, and three charcoal studies.
According to Borg, these studies are able to portray a certain flow and urgency that is otherwise not present in other paintings.
She explained that her exhibition explores a variety of themes that started with works that were very traditional still life yet, as it progressed, she started to “explore the use of text and phrases; some of which are very emotionally charged while others are simple and left up to interpretation”.
Borg’s work remains a very personal and special work for her. Asked what her favourite painting is, she revealed that the painting ‘Touch Me’, for which the exhibition is named after, “was a very important turning point for me in my way of working. It was the first time I was working with text.”
The paintings ‘I cried for you on the kitchen floor’ and ‘You should be stronger than me’ are also Borg’s largest paintings to date, with this exhibition allowing her to further evolve as an artist.
Curator Michael Fenech, who designed the exhibition, noted that the artworks engage the viewer – inviting connection and reflection. Fenech highlighted that he “only curates artists who I admire, and I admire artists who remain true to themselves, even as they are trying to face inconvenient truth through their art”.
He described Borg as “an extremely talented young artist, whose art is a genuine expression of emotion and intellect. Her style is original and very personal. Visiting this exhibition should feel like glimpsing inside a person’s internal life”.
As an artist, Borg in particular loves the process of oil painting, enjoying working with multiple layers.
“A simple reason why I’m an artist is because I love the process of creating an image, especially a painted one. I’ve always loved creating things and materialising ideas ever since I was little.”
She went on to highlight that being able to share her art with people and having an audience, no matter the size, to communicate your work with is a beautiful experience.
“The paintings and drawings in the exhibition Touch Me reflect all the reasons why I love art and what makes art so important to me.”
You will be able to visit the exhibition from the 3rd to 24th June 2021. Entrance is free and subject to COVID-19 safety measures, you can find more information here.
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