In the aftermath of Paul Haber’s Retrospective Exhibition at the BoV Head Office in the summer of 2011, a display of never-before-seen works by the ceramist commemorates the 40th anniversary from his very first exhibition held back in 1972 at the then National Museum of Malta, in Republic Street, Valletta.

These are works that emerge out of a unique combination of a number of things that are rarely found in one person

Haber’s BoV retrospective exhibition highlighted the artist’s development in the medium he has mastered, and increased my respect for him. This exhibition sharpened and fine-tuned it.

Haber inevitably always looks to nature. His works are often left untitled, as is the norm with non-representational pieces. I tend to dislike titles given to most non-representational works.

Haber has not given these works titles as such, but he replaced title captions with little quotations. The meaning of each piece is thereby enhanced.

Haber’s oneness with nature is revealed in one of the spherical pieces which is captioned: Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. William Wordsworth. Another piece carries the caption: I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. John Burroughs. The other works carry equally evocative captions.

In the absence of light, a new life grows... is an exhibit that has ample movement. Attractive and admirably executed is Austere peripheries... captured mortals, confined, lethargic... where a dark hollow frame houses five different-sized red spheres that are playfully placed in the hollow space. There is an uncertainty in the tapering composition and the colour of the red spheres that enhances its interest.

Sturdy creations are a hallmark of Haber’s work. Particularly remarkable is Light of contentment, penetrating life’s green meadows of wealth... where a roughly rectangular mass rises up with a glass insert to diversify the tactile quality of the already divergent surface of the piece.

Equally interesting although visually different is Look deep into nature, observe... The mind gets clear.

A more modern Haber can be gauged in Thunder, which is impressive, but it’s lightening that does the work, in Mark Twain, which has clean forms broken up by the central feature of a lightening bolt.

Wall-hung pieces do not fail to feature and A blazing meteor descends on earth, a stone so low, with a largely red surface, invades most of the space.

These are works that emerge out of a unique combination of a number of things that are rarely found in one person, which is why we call them artists. These are intellect, creativity, a great knowledge of technique and application of medium, and in Haber’s case, a great dose of humility.

This quality of work is seldom to be witnessed in the many (far too many) exhibitions held on our little island. The pursuit of mastery, which I heartily believe in, is what makes the artist significant. Haber is one of the very few. You cannot bypass or ignore his work.

The current exhibition of works produced in the last few years confirms Haber’s role as Malta’s foremost ceramist and reaffirms our respect for him.

Paul Haber’s exhibition of ceramic sculptures, Fusion, is open until February 25 in the courtyard of the National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.