Who is Antony Micallef?
Antony Micallef, born in 1975, is considered one of the most innovative British painters of the last decade. He works in London and learned primarily from the British artist John Virtue, who specialised in monochrome landscape painting. Virtue, in turn, was taught by the post-war painter Frank Auerbach, one of whose works is also on show in the current MUCA exhibition.
Micallef had his breakthrough in the mid-2000s. Since then, he has consistently developed his aesthetic and creative process. Recent works such as the "Raw Intent" series pay homage to the London School of Painting. Micallef's intense, gestural oil paintings allude to the human condition in all its forms, drawing inspiration from his own face as a subject. In contrast to conventional self-portraits that show only outward appearance, the works are to be understood as explorations of the innermost expression of human identity.
Antony Micallef's work can be found in collections around the world, with two of his pieces in the permanent collection of the London Design Museum. He was selected by the Louis Vuitton brand as one of 200 visionaries worldwide.
How does Micallef work?
While in the mid-2000s Micallef was still working far more figuratively and also with prints, his more recent works are more and more abstract-looking portrait oil paintings.
His heavily laden, texture-rich canvases are reminiscent of artists as diverse as Auerbach, Kossoff, the White Russian-French painter Chaim Soutine and the British painter Walter Sickert, whose works explore and ultimately foreground the pure materiality of the medium of paint. All these artists are united by the desire to exploit the expressive possibilities of oil paint, with the emotional power of material form on canvas seen as an end in itself. For Micallef, painting takes on traits of a violent struggle in which the paint is thrown onto and knocked off the canvas.
MIcallef at the "25" exhibition in Munich
In the current anniversary show, the two earlier works "Peacekeeper" and "Friendly Fire" are on display in the basement. On the ground floor, among other things, an oil painting from the series "Raw Intent" can be admired.
Experience Micallef's art live at MUCA: