Teresa Sciberras is a visual artist working mainly in painting, drawing and collage. She was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, and studied at the University of Malta, Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence and Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, Scotland. She has participated in numerous exhibitions, including Homo Melitensis, the Maltese Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), as well as the Biennale des Jeunes Createurs d'Europe et de la Mediterranee (Skopje, 2009); and New Contemporaries (The Royal Scottish Academy, 2008). Previous solo exhibitions include Box Set (Casa Ellul, Valletta, 2019), Hortus Conclusus with Fragmenta Malta (2016) and Little White Lies (Malta National Museum of Fine Arts, 2012). Her work is held in public and private collections in Malta, the UK, the States, Brussels, Italy, France and Germany. She currently lives and works in Malta and teaches at the MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts and at the University of Malta.Read More
'Screenings' is an open-ended series of paintings which explores solutions for dealing with pictorial space to reflect contemporary realities. The method of working in layers—both using traditional painting techniques and digital media—is mobilised to propose the idea of the picture plane as a screen–a device used to conceal as much as to reveal. Playing with projective as well as recessive spatial illusion, as well as with opacity and transparency, these paintings aim to question what it is that is made visible and what it is that is kept hidden.
BOX SET In theatre terminology, a ‘box set’ is a stage-set in which three walls–and often a roof—are constructed within the proscenium arch and visible to the audience, creating a fictional internal space which the actors inhabit and are immersed in, on show yet seemingly oblivious to their audience of spectators. The fourth wall is implicit yet invisible–a membrane which separates the fictional from the real, a one-way mirror which directs transparency in only one direction, and which distinguishes the watcher from the watched.
Similarly, the construction of the illusion of space in painting relies on the fourth wall of the picture plane and its transparency, and a willing suspension of disbelief which allows the material object-hood of flat, painted surfaces to be converted in the mind’s eye into other spaces, spaces of possibility and allegory where things do not obey the laws of physics but of the imagination, spaces which metabolise the external world, taking it apart, processing it, reassembling it.
Thus, these paintings are intended to function as box sets, as recessed, artificial and illusory spaces, assembled from paper-thin, cut-out props and fragments, in which scale is shifting and indeterminate. They are, however, flat-pack stage-sets, as, in several places, they address the picture plane as a flat surface for marks to sit on rather than as a transparent fourth wall for objects to sit behind. Self-conscious and unstable, the painted illusion is simultaneously assembled and dismantled as the fourth wall is, intermittently, broken.
Text courtesy Valletta Contemporary.