Dr Joseph Paul Cassar
Text in the Manifesting the Soul Exhibition Catalogue
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
September 2004

Mark Sagona's Soul Searching

The art of Mark sagona is following its natural course. For these last few years he persistently showed his serious commitment and dedication to art, both to me personally as well as to the general art loving public.

This has been demonstrated by his enthusiasm in putting up a series of personal shows: Analytical Forms (November 2000), Recent Insights (January 2004) and his third current exhibition entitled Manifesting the Soul.

Indeed, what is very clear is that Mark Sagona has embarked on his artistic journey with a clear vision: that of exploring new forms, the language of colour and different light sources, while remaining open to innovative, current idioms that manifest themselves periodically in the art world.

The journey is still in its infancy years, since a human life remains always too short in view of the dreams of creativity. But Mark is young and his youthful energetic years are yielding their fruit as from time to time he calls us to share in the pleasure, assessment, admiring and appreciating of his latest creations.

A journey has a beginning and an end, but the true artist does not see the end, but only new beginnings. Mark Sagona is working very much in this spirit, knowing well that the peak of the mountain is in sight, but it will take a life-time to reach it!

Mark's interest in a contemporary form of expression in the art of painting in oils on canvas started in his father's workshop in Gozo, but he soon ventured on the more revolutionary developments of art practice mainly the colourful cubist fragmentation as practised by Robert Delaunay and Juan Gris respectively in France. Still-Lifes and compositions with figures were favourite themes. After this phase, Mark moved to concentrate on the local landscape, particularly that of his native island Gozo. This wasn't just a change in subject matter but new technical preoccupations were introduced, particularly a sense of composition and veils of light that gave solidity to the architecture of the place, while at the same time added so much atmospheric conditions to his panoramic views.

I had the chance to witness Mark Sagona's artistic course of development on many occasions both in my critical writings in his previous brochures as well as having had the pleasure of commenting on his works during the official exhibition inaugurations. Now, the subject has been slowly put aside, but not completely, just to give way to a more colourful, expressionistic, abstract form of art. However, the current works are not without a theme. Light is very predominant, manifested in different beams and crevices. These works also speak of Mark Sagona's soul searching as he discovers his spiritual self through his art.

Dr Joseph Paul Cassar is an artist, art critic, curator and educator. He has exhibited his works widely both in Malta and abroad. In 2003 he received a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, USA, to be artist-in-residence for six weeks. He is the author of a number of monographs on Maltese art and artists and wrote art reviews for The Times (of Malta) between 1998-2001. He lectures on art history, theory and practice at the Junior College and the Art Programme,

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