En­ter the sea…..

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE - Marika Az­zopardi

Over the past 10 years she has pro­duced a reg­u­lar vol­ume of work, an av­er­age of one or two shows per year. And so, in cel­e­bra­tion of her 10th an­niver­sary as an ac­tive and pro­lific artist, Alexia Cop­pini has just launched her 20th solo. This is a ren­dezvous of 35+ seas­capes that bring back mem­o­ries of past works by the artist, while promis­ing ex­cit­ing things to come.

The Great Ocean is the ti­tle se­lected by Cop­pini for this col­lec­tion of works, a ti­tle in­spired by Henry Wadsworth Longfel­low’s poem The Se­cret of the Sea… “My soul is full of long­ing for the se­cret of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me”. Thus wrote Longfel­low (1807-82) in the fi­nal verse of this poem penned in the dis­tant 1850. “Longfel­low’s words spoke to me in so many ways, since I have been a lover of the sea for as long as I can re­mem­ber, and I also feel a great thrill when I am in prox­im­ity of the sea,“ad­mits Cop­pini. And even while her love of the sea fu­elled her ini­tial artis­tic in­spi­ra­tion here on is­land Malta, Cop­pini, be­ing widely trav­elled, has em- braced var­ied ex­pe­ri­ences of far flung seas and for­eign oceans and por­trayed them in her very var­ied work.

The in­ter­est for this work stems not only be­cause of the very con­cen­trated the­matic qual­ity, but also for the fact that Cop­pini, con­trary to many other Mal­tese artists, loves to use oils. Ex­clu­sively. And over the years, she has brushed up her tech­nique valiantly and pa­tiently, with painstak­ing pa­tience and at­ten­tion to de­tail.

Me and my Shadow is per­haps the most en­thralling and yet sim­ply ex­e­cuted paint­ing con­tained in this ex­hi­bi­tion. It speaks sum­mer through and through. It is also one of only two paint­ings wherein a hu­man body is vis­i­ble. Other than a cou­ple of sails here and there and one lone light­house, the paint­ings are dedi- cated to na­ture’s wa­tery whims. Com­pletely dif­fer­ent in style, mood, ex­e­cu­tion and pal­ette is a paint­ing en­ti­tled Win­ter Won­der, a tu­mul­tuous wintry scene of sea, foam and rocks. Then again, a dif­fer­ent take on the sea is to be had in Grotta Az­zurra with its placid char­ac­ter and con­tained wa­ters which speak of a com­pletely dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­ment from the crash­ing vi­sion of High Hopes.

There is a sense of lonely beauty in these works, an en­chant­ment which only sea-lov­ing be­ings can ap­pre­ci­ate. This wa­ter which di- vides con­ti­nents and land, its pe­cu­liar­i­ties, be­hav­iour and un­pre­dictabil­ity, its beauty, im­men­sity, calm and wild­ness.... all its colours from still to stormy, from sun­shiny to dark. It is all, in some form or other, dis­played in this col­lec­tion by Cop­pini. Each paint­ing is a world of its own, tells its own story, al­low­ing the viewer to stop, jump in and be­come a part of it.

‘The Great Ocean’ − ex­hi­bi­tion of seas­capes by Alexia Cop­pini is at The Phoeni­cia, Flo­ri­ana, un­til 21 Oc­to­ber.

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