‘Twilight’ might sound like an odd name for what will be the first exhibition of 2021 at the Malta Society of Arts Galleries at Palazzo de La Salle. ‘Half-light’, however, which is where the word comes from, suits the mood perfectly.
Effectively cloistered by the pandemic lockdown, Madeleine Gera turned to introspection, and to an undented productiveness that saw her create this set of 22 oils on canvas.
Throughout, there is a sense of alla prima immediacy that is all about an artist painting in relative seclusion, with her spirit for company.
Gera finds comfort in a rich palette, in the white light bouncing off the peel of still lifes with lemons, and in the Boulle and ormolu detail of a table.
Interiors are an unusual subject, if perfectly understandable in the circumstances: they appear to be inspired by northern artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and show evocative if unpeopled spaces that would not be out of place in a Visconti film.
The show also includes the kind of portraits we have come to expect of Gera, as well as landscapes (both natural and urban/industrial) and crowd scenes.
This, then, is the seasoned imagination cut loose, even as the manufactured isolation of COVID-19 attempts to contain it.
Madeleine Gera is among 20 artists who have supported The Shift by donating her work to the ongoing third anniversary online exhibition ‘Art for Free Press‘.
‘Twilight’, an exhibition of paintings during a pandemic, will be on from 7-14 January 2021 at Palazzo de La Salle, Republic Street, Valletta.