Hong Kong—Pearl Lam Galleries is delighted to present the first solo exhibition in Asia of works by British artist Antony Micallef (b. 1975) at its Hong Kong Pedder Building space. The artist will exhibit a new series of paintings and studies that explore the relationships of the mechanics of artistic intent, representation, and the use of paint as a material for expressing emotions.
Known for his visually charged figure paintings, Micallef has enjoyed international success since he placed second in the BP Portrait Award 2000, hosted at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Other key exhibitions include at the National Academy of Fine Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria; the National Museum in Warsaw, Poland; The Royal Academy, London, UK; the ICA, London, UK; Tate Britain, London, UK; and Dallas Contemporary, Texas, USA.
Micallef’s new series of works are a complete departure from his earlier artworks. He builds up a relieflike surface with heavy paint to depict a figurative mass in front of a muted background. By using an impasto technique, the material is pushed to its extreme and blurs our reading of painting and sculpture. Confronted with the sheer physicality of the painting as an object, the depicted subject takes on its own life and existence.
Furthermore, the use of gestural abstraction resonates with the traditions of action painting from the 1940s and the School of London from the 1970s.
Raw Intent contemplates the very substance and void that makes us human in the first place. The real intent is to short-circuit our narcissism and provoke us to contemplate what makes a painting afterall. Micallef’s preoccupation is not to merely create imaginary subjects, but to capture an emotive moment that both the artist and the viewers can share. Micallef says, “Painting is like a snapshot, like a still of life. Life contained by it is still.”