Enter the sea…..
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.