Couldn't agree more, joker. Wish I could be there for the show to see it all live. Laz really knows how to put on a show, and with the strength of these pieces, I think it's a must-see even if you're dubious about Micallef.
Notwithstanding my art buying frustrations as of late, I couldn't resist...
Mine is "Head With Gold." Hope that wasn't the one you were after, Joker, and that you got another great piece (I thought there were lots of them).
It's a head done in charcoal with gold leaf-- thought it was a really strong example of Micallef portriature. Also wondering peoples' impressions who saw it live. Some of the digitals suggested there is really amazing texture in the piece, with the paper almost peeling off the face to create highlights bringing forth form from the deep black charcoal, but it's hard to tell whether, looking at it close up, this is the actual case and/or it makes a meaningful difference. My Laz contact convinced me on this piece over another on the basis that supposedly it's even more impressive live-- really pops. Hoping someone who went to the opening can confirm that's the case.
Mom (a collector) says she hopes I love it because she thinks it's "spooky and grim." I do.
Hey Weezy you are going to be delighted with your purchase. I went in today. All bar 2 pieces are sold and I have to say for me the best head piece was yours. The paper is really torn up as you describe. The energy and harrowing nature of the portrait really come alive with the texture and the gold background. I found myself staring at it more ages and drawn in. No one does dark like Micallef! Real great piece. I was after one of the other self portraits which was also nice but sold. You really could not hesitate with this show. You probably have the show catalogue and promo postcard but if not pm me and I will send you the spare ones I picked up.
Thanks for the live view update, Joker, since I'm a world away in Los Angeles. It really stood out for me in the context not only of this show, but also the overall body of his head study works. And from a collector's perspective, I liked the use of gold to tie into the other pieces from the show, where he's using that element for the first time.
Q: How'd it stack up against the self portrait triptych? I really loved that, too, and had a somewhat painful internal debate between it and Head with Gold (were I wealthier and had the wall space I would've gotten both). In the end, the relative size, gold leaf tie to the show and the degraded paper textures made it seem more evolutionary and unique in the context of the oeuvre than the triptych with its "becoming animal" elements and thus the incrementally better choice, even though it was charcoal on paper vs. oil on canvas.
In the close up, I noticed there's like a Sarah Palin lookalike in the reflection. Who knew she was (a) in London hanging at Laz and (b) a fan?
I have to say I wish Laz used true museum anti-reflective as well as anti-UV glass. My other Micallef has the same problem with reflection, and it's enough a detraction if the sun is shining that I keep thinking I need to replace it.
Although a better investment might be whatever Laz uses to light the work in its gallery. Nobody does it better than they do!