A Journey in Colour

Quietly and unassumingly, the clean confident lines and highly polished surface finishes of Stephanie Borg communicate her artistic soul-searching travels nourishing her passion for colour. Her deep respect for line is equally evident in the way it majestically arcs, ascends and falls into a concentric, almost mathematical, regularity in the UNTITLED paintings. Inspiring a meditative and happy mood, these two works are imbued with an airy force that is conspicuously deflated in BLUE. Here the low spirits of the artist are channeled into the wavy and agitated strands of hair that define a faceless visage. In tune with this sad feeling, the cold blue is caressed by vestiges of a hidden lunar light.

Yet this gloom immediately subsides in BLAZING DUNES where sandy tan browns, ochre’s and yellows are evocative of that unbearable desert heat Oman, where the artist resided for a while, is so synonymous with. Solar energy erupts into twisting and spiraling linear motion emitting both radiance and radiation.

Leaves and petals feature as the main protagonists in AMARYLLIS, A LITTLE GARDEN and FLOW OF GREEN LEAVES. A smooth employment of the varying nuances of red and green generally casts a soothing feeling. Yet each painting beguiles with its own visual dialect. While soft edges shape the elegant AMARYLLIS flower, thick black independent lines surround the more textured surfaces of the petals and leaves in THE LITTLE GARDEN as though suggestive of an incipient restlessness. As the leaves rise sinuously, almost with hypnotic effect, they also soar and flame as their green colour becomes subtly consumed by the underlying fiery yellow.

Only a very disciplined and persevering attitude can instill the sufficient patience required for the very time-consuming technique that Stephanie Borg employs. By meticulously applying ink – layer upon layer – she mesmerizes us with a wide palette of daringly contrasting hues. The highly ornamental robes of her Omani women and children are precisely notable for the intense pink, red, orange, green and blue that enhance the intricate geometric patterns. While physical context is left undepicted, it is implied by the unobtrusive silhouette of the paired Islamic ogee arches in the background. The same economy may be perceived in the Venetian scenes where simple motifs compose images that in essence capture what the artist drew from this floating city. Traces of a weathered façade, water curling into restless spirals and a storm-brewing or serene moonlit sky are conveyed by a vibrant curvilinearity finally culminating in the dignified prow of a gondola.

Hopeful tidings are imparted by the RADIANT MESSENGER whose regal presence is remarkably displayed. Order and symmetry are the main ingredients for the design of the angel whose ethereality is pronounced by the flat dress lavish with a festive scheme of orange, pink and brown meandering floral patterns. Every detail in this work is determined by an all pervading atmosphere of timelessness and tranquility.

Bernadine Scicluna

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