Axelle New York welcomes back Maltese artist Ġoxwa for her tenth solo exhibition at the gallery. Ġoxwa’s encaustic works unite an age-old technique with timeless subjects and contemporary relevance. Her textured landscapes, still-lifes and figures appear to be Mediterranean frescoes painted on the walls of ancient buildings. Using oil, wax and a palette knife on canvas, Ġoxwa creates glimpses into another world-one where the past, present and future exist side by side. Her defined subjects are often surrounded by unclear backgrounds verging on abstraction. Full of life, Ġoxwa’s birds feel as though they are about to fly, her landscapes about to change and her women about to acknowledge the viewer.
Ġoxwa states: I would like to think that I am being faithful to those old fresco painters, who were of course “modern“ in their days uniting technique and feeling, careful observation of the world around them with fading but still living traditions of an art that must go back to the painters on the walls of caves thousands of years ago.
In fact, Ġoxwa’s whole life has been permeated by the coupling of the past and present. Her name itself is an ancient form of Josephine. She grew up on the streets of Valletta, where she played in the some of the world’s oldest freestanding buildings. However, she also experienced a very modern Malta amidst a time of great political and social upheaval after Malta gained its independence from the UK in 1964. At the age of 19, she left Malta and studied art in London at The Saint Martin School of Art; afterwards, she studied film at Emerson College in Boston. Studying in cities known both for their historical significance and for their cosmopolitan cultures, Ġoxwa continued to be surrounded by a stark juxtaposition of the past and present.
After her time at Emerson, Ġoxwa had begun to develop a style unusual for modern artists using wax and oil; indeed, the encaustic painting process dates back to approximately 100-300 AD. She had her first solo show in Massachusetts and consequently was awarded a scholarship at the Cite des Artes in Paris. Upon her return to Europe, her first major exhibition completely sold out, as did her second. Her exhibitions since then, both in the US and abroad, have seen similar success.
All of these dualities are encapsulated in her aptly titled new collection, The Past Made Present. Ġoxwa will attend the opening reception on November 8.