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Art as an affordable gift this winter | Melanie Farrugia

Ahead of the ‘Winter Salon’ exhibition at the newly inaugurated Studio 104 Fine Art Space, we speak to curator Melanie Farrugia ahead of this collective exhibition

Teodor Reljic
2 December 2014, 8:00am
Arthur Aquilina - New York
Arthur Aquilina - New York
Darren Tanti - L-art imwieghda
Darren Tanti - L-art imwieghda
Alex Cachia - Wintry day
Alex Cachia - Wintry day
Francis Galea - Valletta Residence
Francis Galea - Valletta Residence
What was the main aim of the exhibition?

The main aim of the exhibition was to encourage artists and sculptors who are working in isolation to exhibit their work in the gallery environment. It enables artist to submit one or two pieces of their artwork and therefore not have to work towards a solo exhibition, which can be a bit daunting for an artist. To promote this we offered a small entry fee, in order that the artist could sell their works at their studio prices.

We offered a curatorial service for this and a contemporary art space to showcase their works, we have also introduced a Replacement System, which allows the client to take away the sold artwork from the exhibition and the artist to replace their artwork for another the same size. We felt this was necessary over the festive season.

How does the exhibition fit into the overall programme of what Studio 104 is about?

This is the first Entry Fee based exhibition and it is another dimension to our Fine Art Promotion Program. We want to encourage artists and independent curators, looking for a highly equipped art space, to use our curatorial services and consider Studio 104, Fine Art Space for group and solo exhibition gallery hire.

How did you go about selecting artists for the exhibition? Which criteria did you use?

We decided to advertise an Open Call to Artists on our Studio 104 Valletta, Facebook page. In order to cover a wide range of artworks, themes and styles, the selection criteria, for this Winter Salon 2014, Christmas Exhibition was by entry only. This is not necessarily the precedent for future group exhibitions; however we are delighted with the standards of artworks which are extremely high, as you can see from our list of participating artists.

How do you hope people will react to the exhibition?

The visitor reaction was very positive. Studio prices have made the artworks very accessible and an inviting option. There is a wide range of academic styles and themes. The art space genuinely looks interesting and eclectic and the Opening Night was a huge success, as an event and for sales. During the exhibition we are also hosting a Book Signing Event and, from December 6-11, the Winter Salon 2014 will have an interim exhibition of Award Winning Textiles by Australian artist Jenny Bowker.

What’s next for Studio 104?

Studio 104, Fine Art Space, is working towards presenting a wide range of Fine Art & design projects in the future. We have recently introduced a permanent; Small Scale Fine Art & Design giftware range. This aims to support our local artists in that they will always find an ongoing outlet for their high end, small scale work. We are a diverse art space, who is ready to take on new challenges and work towards Valletta 2018.

Participating artists at the Winter Salon include: Mario Agius, Victor Agius, Arthur Aquilina, Hazel Ashley, Ray Axiaq, Gabriella Azzopardi, Maria Borg, Alex Cachia, Carl Caruana, Emmanuel Caruana, Mariz Cassar, Nathalie Debono, Arthur Dutton, Henry Falzon, Louise Fenech, Francis Galea, Nicolette Galea, Lara Manara, Franco Navarro, Mario Sammut, Darren Tanti, Maria Tonna and Lewis Wirth. The exhibition will remain on display until December 19

Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...
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