The expressionist work of British artist Antony Micallef layers the figure to the point of total distortion. His style of painting misshapen figures against soft backdrops is an amalgamation of influences from Francis Bacon, to old masters like Caravaggio and Velázquez, to more modern contemporary photographers and graphic artists- leading to the nickname “Caravaggio meets Manga” in the media. Featured here on our blog, he describes his art as “like watching a Disney movie which slowly turns into violent pornography- the trouble with pop imagery is that it doesn’t really go deeper than the surface, you have to drag it down and challenge it to make it interesting.”
Micallef is now showing his first major body of work in over a year at the Pearl Lam Galleries in Hong Kong, his first in China’s capital city. Titled “Raw Intent”, the series features 23 new paintings that expose the raw, darker side of the human condition. “Raw Intent is a body of work that uses the mechanics of paint to unearth and excavate emotion using myself as a vehicle. I want the medium to evoke something visceral and emotive without illustrating it. The figures are distorted, pushed and pulled until they start to ‘breathe’ on their own.”
“The object of the work is to instill and convey a sense of energy and life. Emotions are projected onto and tested on these found figures, and the form is stretched to its limit, like subjects in a science lab. I’m interested in that space where the figure almost disintegrates but somehow stays intact, leaving a sense of friction and raw distortion. The medium is celebrated and used in full force in many different ways with many different tools to render life that echoes traces of our emotional field,” he says. Antony Micallef’s “Raw Intent” is on view through June 30th.