An unusual exhibition of paintings by Ray Piscopo, entitled Opus 2012 After the Masters, has been opened at the Cavalieri Hotel, St Julian’s.

This formidable collection bares the soul and character of the artist

A 24-page colour catalogue documents the exhibition with an apt image on its front cover – Archangel Michael, an interpretation of Guido Reni’s masterpiece whose source is Donatello’s St George (c.1415). It also serves as the logo of the artist’s vision.

The dramatic swirling movement of the figure with an angelic face as it forcefully plunges a lance into Lucifer and its diagonal dynamic movement says it all.

This formidable collection bares the soul and character of the artist. Piscopo has faced adversity with courage and tact, transforming his struggle through his heroic expression into a resounding victory.

In this incredible effort he sublimates his feelings of rancour, pain and suffering and achieves a monumental expression of grandeur with great exuberance and extravagance exploiting to the full a dynamic, swirling movement with bravura.

His colourful, bold and modern dialectic is based on masterpieces by great masters old and modern. He is inspired by unique works transforming them through personal interpretation into a language coming out from his heart and mind like an irresistible torrent.

His strength lies in vibrant colour, dynamic and dramatic movement, strong line and structured compositions. The artist projects the masters in a modern idiom demonstrating that their art will live forever and relived through his interpretation for all time.

However, he continues to experiment with media and techniques to best portray his inner feelings and moods onto the canvas.

Piscopo’s works are bold excursions into the unknown. Inspired by the cinema and theatre, he relives particular moments of great drama to create works imbued with catharsis charged by musical scores in films that he translates into swirling paint on canvas.

Perhaps Piscopo’s finest interpretation is Degas’ The Singer with the Glove. The raised hand, the open articulated mouth uttering her operatic vibrato note, the energy in the action is formidable. The artist excellently interprets Jeremiah’s lament, Ezekiel’s forceful posture and his massive, solid and strong figure and Christ as Apollo in The Last Judgement, all inspired by Michelangelo.

Among modern masters he admires Picasso, Van Gogh and Modigliani. His contemporary version of Guernica reaffirms man’s rights and aspirations in liberty that modern warfare stifles and destroys. In Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (whose original threatened the establishment), imbued Piscopo with the courage to rebel, to risk the notion that “style does not exist”. His is formidable work of great dynamic energy emitting monumental grandeur and a revolutionary spirit with an incredible exuberance.

Piscopo digs into the old masters: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Carracci and Pontormo and with thrilling excitement he finds great treasure which he transforms into a modern idiom eulogising the greats.

His work is a paean to the masters but with his involvement and enthusiasm he has also carved a name for himself as a lyric artist and poet of colours.

The exhibition will be open until January 24.

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