Olaug Vethal (1946–2007)
Acrylic on linen. 101cm x 101cm. 2004.
Jazz 2, was originally exhibited during a posthumous exhibition in 2008 titled ‘Grazzi Malta-Retrospective Works’ and curated by Olaug Vethal’s former student, Christine Xuereb.
This work was executed at the Malta Jazz festival in 2004. Completed at a time between 1995 and 2006 when Olaug Vethal together with fellow artists Ebba Von Fersen and Jeni Caruana would visit the Malta Jazz Festival and paint live while the musical performances would be underway. Olaug Vethal was a prolific artist and one marked characteristic of her work is her vibrant use of colour and her speed of execution. Vethal had a rigorous academic background and so she was able to create these swift works whilst still remaining true to design fundamentals: form, colour and composition.
For those former students and collaborators who remember her, Olaug used to paint with the totality of her body generating sweeping brush strokes and allowing the paint to flow. Her marked vivacity is evident in this en plain air painting wherein the vibe and atmosphere of the event is effectively transferred onto the canvas. Jazz 2 does not capture the rhythm of the music as much as the ephemerality of the live performance. Each brush stroke was marked decidedly and there is a heightened sensitivity for composition and colours which are comparable to Wasily Kandinsky’s sentiments on music and colour: “colour is a power which directly influences the soul”.