First published in The Sunday Times, Malta, February 8, 2004.
Reprinted here with the kind permission of Chev. Emmanuel Fiorentino.

Artistic links with down under

by E. Fiorentino

As part of the activities being held at St. James Cavalier for the first edition of the Maltese-Australian Cultural Week, which is being jointly organised by the Maltese Australian Chamber of Commerce and the Australian High Commission in Malta, a collective exhibition by five artists has been put up in the main hall and some of the adjoining spaces within the centre.

[…] The main hall is dominated by the works of Carmen Pizzuto who by now is already justifiably well-known in Malta having had three personal exhibitions since 1992, the year she returned to Malta from Australia. Last year she won first prize in the first Maltese National Art competition organised by the Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce to commemorate the society's 150th anniversary.

Born in Birkirkara, Pizzuto emigrated to Melbourne in 1977. There she became a member of the Victorian Art Group and the Glenroy Art Group under whose auspices she exhibited regularly at their premises in Glenroy. In addition she exhibited with a group of artists called Exhibit 12 in various venues in and around Melbourne.

Pizzuto's present exhibition is a continuation of her “Memories and Reflections: An Australian Interlude”. She recoups “the magic of a vast and beautiful land experienced” with her application of pigments in the abstracted manner of her highly distinctive idiom, whether in her large or minuscule canvases. One thing that always draws me to admire her work is that she possesses an instinctive feeling where to stop in her pictorial 'exercises', never exerting her palette unduly, with the result that each of her paintings looks just perfect.

Her miniature-like paintings include both Australian subjects like The You-Yangs, Victoria or Sunset at Rosebud, or Maltese ones like Winter—St Paul's Bay, Summer—St Paul's Bay and Boats at Harbour—Xemxija. There is a cryptic sense of nostalgia whenever she recalls the different times of day or the seasonal changes, as in Summer Evening—Broadmeadows, Summer Evening—Camp Road, Rosebud—Sunset, Blue night—Violet Town, The Dreamtime—Hanging Rock, Song of Evening—Hanging Rock.

Places like Isle of Hope—Along the Mornington Peninsula or Along the Coast Road—Rosebud are resurrected from the entrails of her distant memories in a hermetic vision of self-contained thoughts. I have no hesitation in stating that Carmen Pizzuto is an asset to Maltese art for the way in which she combines technical handling of her materials with her deep chromatic sense and a neo-'romantic' approach to her subjects.


The exhibition runs until February 22.

[ Image: WINDY DAY (oil on canvas) by Carmen Pizzuto ]