Grace Cassar is a romantic expressionist of feeling with an intense leaning towards a classical approach to art and a deep welling of sentiments with moods that vary from the passionate, to delicate and to elegant statements, or suggestions the result of a sensitive, sensible and intense character.
She is a versatile artist and an accomplished pianist. a keen and enthusiastic painter and quite eclectic that gives her work a historical perspective. Her natural flare, talent and skill allow her the freedom to vary the subject she chooses at will: portraits, still life, landscape, the human figure and particularly flowers. She masters watercolour, oil, soft pastel, acrylic and graphics.
Woman with Turban
Her versatile and prolific expression is backed by a solid academic background and a serious study of drawing technique under experienced and established local and foreign masters. Variety is the spice of life and her present collection demonstrates her multi-faceted technical talent in various media.
More important still is her skill in shrewd observation and analysis of character with reference to her portraits. The contrasts in her character studies vary from sublimated beauty to delicate, elegant, charming and refined faces to noble and sentimental romanticism. This gallery includes: ‘Woman with Turban’ (no.12) in her frontal poise that resembles noble Queen Nefertiti of Egypt; ‘Scandinavian’ a pure beauty; ‘Portrait 3’ (no.22) a dark haunting beauty and ‘Portrait 1’ (no.14) the poster of the exhibition that reveals the artist’s potential at tackling new ways of expressing herself, a certain joy in execution and a playful approach. The academic approach melts and vanishes.
The artist reaches dizzy heights of artistic excellence in ‘Flowers’ (no.5) painted with an Impressionist technique. Her love of flowers surfaces in the way she interprets their power of seduction, their energetic dynamic force, their beauty, the wilting and dry petals on the table, in the elegant turquoise vase that lends nobility to the bunch and the ephemeral and transient nostalgic notion of life and death. Her brush strokes are like dancing steps. ‘Flowers in Blue Vase’ (no.7) is a dainty bouquet in wet on wet with colour saturated in water in a fresh, spontaneous and rosy style.
The artist’s academic studies surface in her still life. Highly classical, Grace takes pride in choosing a structure in her compositions, placing the objects herself in relation to each other as if they are a conversation piece. ‘Still Life with Strawberries’ (no.1), ‘Persian’ (no.2) and ‘Apples’ (no.3) remind me of our fine artist painter: Tony Sciberras (b.1945) and the Impressionists: Cezanne, Pissarro, Renoir and Degas. The beauty and finesse of the Persian carpet, the realism of the apples, the freshness of the strawberries, and the balance and harmony of her palette demonstrates that tradition is not a pejorative term but collective wisdom of empirical experiment – by trial and error.
Persian Still Life
Flowers in Blue Vase
The works in the exhibition bring out explicitly the artist’s likes and loves. She must be fond of pets especially dogs and cats. In ‘Dog & Child’ (no.20) the loving relationship impresses especially the sweet melancholy that the dog intimates. Sweet is the ‘Dog with Wreath’ (no.10) while ‘Stardust’ (no.19), a head of a horse is painted freely in large patches of colour or Cubist technique. Grace loves trees, landscape, streetscape and seascape. ‘Nostalgia’ (no.11) is a recollection of childhood when the artist’s father used to take his daughter to play and swim at Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq. It is a lingering memory turned into expression. The street scene at Cittadella Gozo is a streetscape bathed in light while the lyrical trees at Burmarrad is a favourite spot and a recurring theme.
After the artist’s exhibitions ‘Romantic and Expressive’ (January 2014) at the Auberge d’Italie in Merchants Street, Valletta and ‘Face to Face’ (March 2017) at the China Cultural Centre in Melita Street Valletta Grace Cassar is presenting ‘Allure of Variety’ at Palazzo Ferreria in republic Street Valetta (14 April – 10 May 2019). The delicacy, the elegance, gentle finesse of her work will surely stimulate and impress. Her love of music reveals her love of harmony and balance.
E. V. Borg
Grace Cassar: Bio Data
Grace Cassar (b.1952) is a versatile artist and an accomplished pianist. She is a keen painter and is quite eclectic. Her natural flare, talent and skill allow her the freedom to vary the subject she chooses at will: portraits, still life, landscape, the human figure and particularly flowers. She masters watercolour, oil, soft pastel, acrylic and graphics. During her years at Maria Assunta (1967-71) she studied under the art master Charles Cassar (1944-2014) and for many years (1995-2006) she studied under Harry Alden (b.1929), her tutor and mentor. She loves the Impressionists and admires Monet, Degas and Cezanne from whom she learnt a lot. Her favourite composers are: Chopin and Andrew Lloyd Weber, the former exposes her classical leaning, the latter her intensity for romantic, sentimental moods and her yearning for a modern creative approach. In 2006 she was awarded an honourable mention in a collective exhibition at the Malta Society of Arts and has participated annually in the Society’s Collective between 2006 and 2012 including that of 2011: ‘Eros and Kenosis’ at Cavalieri Art Hotel, St. Julians. She attended several workshops including ‘Degas’ and ‘Turner’ at the National Museum, London while in 2012 she attended an extensive course in Expressive Painting at Saint Martin’s College, London under the well-known Polish tutor Ewa Gargunlinska. But later with the help of relevant short courses abroad such as the recent master classes under Roger Gill she attended at St. Martin’s College London, she became more resolute and ambitious to add to her gallery of portraits. In 2009 she became a member in the ‘Pastel Society’ and participated in the collective exhibition organized annually by the Group (2009-2013). In 2010 she was awarded an honourable mention in the Ferrario Collective Art Exhibition organized by the Art Academy, Mosta. Between 2010 and 2012 she took part in the ‘Rotta tal-Arti’ Collective Art Exhibition while since 2010 she enrolled for Advanced Art Classes under the tuition of Matthew Cassar (b.1946) at the Malta Society of Arts in Valletta. In 2013 she finally took the decision to organize a personal exhibition at the Auberge d’Italie in Merchants Street, Valletta in January 2014. In March 2017 she was chosen by the China Cultural Centre to take part in ‘Face to Face’ with a collection of portraits together with Suruya a Chinese artist from Inner Mongolia, to commemorate and celebrate ‘Women’s Day’.
E. V. Borg
08. 04. 2019