Quite the array
Paintings enlivening the walls of restaurants should always be carefully chosen. The decision of what artwork to display influences the ambience you would like your customers to experience.
It has become quite the trend for restaurateurs to ask artists for a selection of works to be exhibited in their establishment. They do this because they see in the venture a win-win-situation; the restaurant gets free paintings to hang on its usually bare walls, and the artist gets a chance to show his/her work to a broader audience.
The problem is that in many cases (not all), the artwork displayed leaves much to be desired, as do hanging and lighting. While one appreciates the fact that restaurants are not art galleries, better care should be taken.
The Waterline Restaurant in Marsascala is currently hosting an exhibition by Gaynor Hunt entitled My Open H’Art.
Hunt is an English woman who has been living in Marsascala for the past 15 years, where she also has her art studio. The 28 works on display seem to date to the past few years.
Hunt’s passion for art was instilled when as a child her parents owned a museum in Derbyshire, England.
She remained involved in the arts by painting back- drops for shows, as well as restoring old stage sets and more.
The exhibition reveals Hunt to be versatile in her choice of subjects. She mainly sticks to drawings and oil paintings and shows a good array of paintings. The subjects vary tremendously, from animals portraits to a Maltese church, and from sensual nudes to serene landscapes.
Her pencil print Rocky Dog is a good representation of the subject in question, but the handling of the medium is too stiff and restricted.
Lady In Waiting is appealing, and is in a style and technique that can be profitably developed. This is a decorative painting revealing the contours of a pregnant woman in profile executed in a marbling painted technique.
When Hunt indulges in her imagination, such as in the series of figures, the quality of the work suffers. This reveals a lack of technical dexterity especially when it comes to drawing the human form.
I concede that she shows a good hand when it comes to design, but her use of the oil medium can be worked upon and improved.
I also concede that she is prolific and produces prints of her own drawings and paintings.
Unfortunately, for Hunt, when visiting her exhibition, the more interesting part of my evening was spent discussing the late artist and restorer Samuel Bugeja with his youngest son, who could not help but reminisce about his father. Bugeja is the proprietor of the restaurant and a gracious host.
Exhibiting an array of works is not necessarily always a good thing. It can show off more of your skills, but it can reveal an unsure artistic personality.
Within this display of works, which I cannot consider professional, lies an artistic personality that can be nurtured and that can produce more eloquent works of art than currently displayed.
Hunt’s My Open H’Art is open until the end of June at the Waterline Restaurant, Triq is-Salini, Marsascala.