A BOLD EXPRESSIONIST
Strong, bold and vigorous; at times gentle, delicate and elegant George Preca (1958-) is an incurable Expressionist. His expression overflows with emotion, an outpouring of sentiment and feeling tinged with pathos and empathy for humanity travelling the same path he treads, facing the same vicissitudes, his way of life, his philosophy. He does not paint what the eye sees but what the mind perceives though he is purely figurative with a keen sense of the surreal, naive and metaphysical.
His choice of subject or theme though common hides patient reflection and deep contemplation. Surface texture is only a subtle veneer for deeper emotion and feeling. His work might hide deep research into the human psyche by a language of symbols. His work is not about physical reality though tangible and material. It is about thought and intellect. He might work spontaneously and fast but after lengthy reflection and meditation.
His subjects vary from sacred art to profane, from still life to landscape, from fictional male to female portraits, to horses, to lush trees and woods, to everyday themes, to moods and sentiments. George is an eclectic and studies the masters. He is much indebted to his near relative George Preca (1909-84) one of our leading masters who made a name for himself in Rome.
Clown with Tear
Still Life with Lion
In ‘Man with Guitar’ the artist shows an explicit reference to Giorgio de Chirico’s metaphysical tendencies while in ‘Castle and Angry Sea’ the source is surely that of Salvador Dalì. The dilapidated castle with arch leaning on a house rises like a lighthouse against a rough sea that does not augur any good.
The simplicity of the work coupled with the austerity of the scene stimulates thought. ‘Aphrodite’ is an icon picked from a Classical Greek sculptured head of the goddess while ‘Clown with Tear’ bears an echo from Picasso. ‘Horsemen’ an excellent work reminds me of Toulouse Lautrec. Another master such as Gauguin is felt in ‘Woman II’ and ‘Smoking but Drunk’ has the vigour of German Expressionism.
‘Contemplation’ is imbued with a sense of melancholy but redolent with a touch of gentle delicacy. His landscapes with trees are highly Impressionist though at times his obsessive expressionism changes the trees into tongues of flames as in Van Gogh. A self-taught artist George stamps his work with his reflective nature. His work is very personal and impressive though he is an introvert, withdrawn and detached. He imbues his sacred art with deep emotion while he is most surreal in his still life.
George uses pencil, oil and soft pastel and acrylics and a combination of these media. His forms are flat but highly tangible incised with a thick dark line around the edge frequently used as a shadow or dark outline. ‘A Bold Expressionist’ is a collection of 60 works the result of 20 years of work and study exhibited at Cavalieri Art Hotel, St. Julians (1 Sep – 4 Oct 2016).
E. V. Borg
Curator & art critic
21. 07. 2016
Title: A BOLD EXPRESSIONIST
Artist: George Preca
Venue: Cavalieri ART Hotel
Duration: 1 Sep - 4 Oct 2016