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14 OCT - 6 NOV 2021




The art collective known as, a collaboration between artists Nadette Clare-Talbot and Caroline O’Callaghan, launch their exciting debut collection of work, entitled Elective Affinity. On show exclusively from 14 October 2021 at the Lily Agius Gallery in Sliema, the exhibition will showcase twelve individual bodies of work centered around the subject of still life, captured in a photographic style more traditionally seen within classic portraiture. Drawing inspiration from their different artistic backgrounds, Nadette and Caroline began collaborating in Malta in 2019 and ultimately formed their collective,, in early 2021. Their launch collection, Elective Affinity, showcases their complementary talents which are inspired by a powerful, shared aesthetic. Each of the twelve works showcased in the exhibition began with a visual idea, which was typically developed into a three-dimensional botanically themed sculpture, followed by a live installation and, finally, a photographic image that captures the theatrical magic of their unique artistic approach. “Punctum is a term used to refer to an incidental but personally poignant detail in a photograph which ‘pierces’ or ‘pricks’ a particular viewer.” With the duo’s interest in perception and illusion, each body of work seeks to juxtapose disparate subjects. It is this jarring visual experience, a “punctum” for the viewer, that the duo seeks to explore from the inception of each individual idea through to the creation of the installation and ultimately a powerful photographic image. Various other themes are also woven into each body of work, some of which are repeated throughout the exhibition. For example, digital references are featured both in terms of lighting techniques that use diverse sources and reflections, as well as the creative placement of projected images. All visual effects are produced in the studio without any post-production trickery, yet each photographic piece has the appearance of a highly veneered post-production aesthetic. All of this is masterfully achieved, creating widely different narratives for the same visual story. The resulting images are unique and a testimony to the technical and artistic skills of this highly talented duo. “It’s always a satisfying thing to see two artists work so well together and produce a good body of work,” says Lily Agius, the curator of the exhibition. “Nadette and Caroline have been discussing their collaboration for some time, and despite Covid uncertainty, they used it productively to find a new dialogue between them and create something fresh and bold – that of which is neither the style of one or the other but the two of them put together. Their unbridled ambition has resulted in a unique collection of artwork and a stunning show.” Elective Affinity, the first work in the collection that shares its name, draws on the idea of combining objects in a way that the viewer does not expect. In this piece, we see a miniature jewellery box lined in a carpet of winking anemones instead of jewels. It is this sort of juxtaposition that the duo has produced throughout the exhibition. The appearance of movement and the vivid colours of the Amaranthus play key roles in Miss Who. The still life arrangement depicts a female-like form. Hidden amongst the stems in the vase is a miniature digital Tretchikoff image, Miss Wong. Tretchikoff’s work is ubiquitous and we are so accustomed to seeing this image in interiors, murals, placemats and even screensavers that its presence in this piece feels so natural that it appears to belong amongst the stems.

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