Abstract art by the slipway

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Abstract art by the slipway

My office is located in a majestic building in Valletta which through the centuries has served as an Auberge of the Italian Knights of Malta, a clinic, a museum, a court of law and a post office.  It is built in the old style with an ornate entrance, thick walls, high, vaulted ceilings and a huge courtyard which provides it with light and ventilation.  The corridors surrounding the courtyard in the ground floor are used as an exhibition space for a variety of established and budding local and foreign artists.

The exhibitions vary in style with most contemporary efforts delving into the greatly misunderstood medium of abstract art which evokes strong and opposing feelings ranging from admiration to revulsion by the numerous visitors to these exhibitions, myself included.

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It was with these thoughts in mind that I recently stopped to observe and appreciate some abstract pieces of art which were not in a formal exhibition space or venue, but down by the slipway in St. Julians Bay on mainland Malta.  The medium was wood and the paint oil-based and consisted of a number of inter-related panels with a light-blue background and various patches of a bright red which possessed a very effective sanding effect to blur them into their blue background.

As there was no one around I took the liberty to observe the artwork at close quarters and was even able to take a number of close-up pictures of the intriguing patterns.  The attached photos are my three best examples of what I found to be a very pleasant set of inter-related compositions whose sheer abstract nature is as original as it is random.

At this stage you may very justifiably ask why was such art being displayed unattended near a slipway in a fishing village-cum-tourist resort?  The unexpected answer to this is that the subject was none other than a luzzu fishing boat on dry land undergoing repairs before a fresh paint job!  An anti-climatic ending to this short story perhaps, but in my opinion, still a good example of abstract art by an unknown and unwitting boatman which to my mind equates, or even supersedes, some of the exhibited artwork I experience when at the office.

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