‘Considerable effort went into making the operation successful (1)’, 2009
‘When I was Wrong’, 2008
Michael Xuereb’s work is, above all, a reflection of his curiosity. In many of his pieces this curiosity, represented by an unerring eye for unusual compositions, juxtapositions and for the stillness and meditative quality of repetition, strikes the viewer with the subtle but effective ways in which visual perceptions can be easily overturned. Working in a variety of media including photography, work on canvas and installation, Xuereb often attempts to find the kernel of serenity in apparent chaos; although this can sometimes come across in his work as unfocused, the overall result is almost always an intelligent exploration of the fragility of understanding through observation.
Xuereb’s curiosity is served well by his interest in the series format. This allows him to explore his concepts with deeper visual complexity. In ‘When I was Wrong’ (2008) his series of washed out and blurry landscape photographs have the sensual texture and beauty of watercolour paintings. The series thwarts the initial impact of a photograph gone wrong (also implied by the title), and taken as a whole recreates the rhythmic impression of narrative images seen through a child’s View-Master or flip-book.
‘Big Plans’, 2008
Repetition as a technique is used in many of Xuereb’s other works. One of the strongest is ‘Big Plans’ (2008) a series in which building plans and maps are multiplied and layered on top of one another. Through this simple but effective approach the viewer sees the order and logic of maps as though through a prism. The plans become new constellations where the forms and patterns whose meaning we take for granted are obscured, revealing fresh viewing possibilities.
Angela Marisol Roberts