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Steven Vella, already much lauded for his mosaic and terrazzo works, continues his successful transition to abstract painting with his new exhibition, 'Infinity.' Inside Steven's Newtown studio the pungent aroma of shellac reinforces the dramatic unpredictability of his chosen medium. His method is preparation intensive - silver or gold leaf laboriously applied to mahogany board. Finally, multicoloured and quick drying shellac is applied. The substance is unforgiving, and the results testament to Vellla's experience and talent. The use of shellac, conversely, increases the viewer's sense of control in a way that is both mesmerising and thought provoking. "Shellac can be temperamental, but that is part of the attraction," says Steven.

"In one sense, there is far more freedom than with other mediums, but on the other hand, it also rules me.. "As Steven explains, the potency of the material is such that consistency, colour and texture change as drying occurs. 'Infinity', Vella's homage to the estimated 150 billion galaxies in the universe, also reflects change and creation. Steven's awe at the size and capricious nature of his subject matter is evident in 20 inspired works of differing sizes, with a palette ranging from intense auburns to multilayered violets. Colour treatment reinforces Vella's vibrant personality and underlines his fascination with the humbling dimensions of space. Each work displays a rich depth and luminosity that reacts dramatically with changes in light.

With 'Infinity', Vella moves from his previous exploration of the earth's atmosphere to the investigation of the many galaxies, comets and nebulas of the universe. Vella's new works reveal a complex balance that alludes to the vast chasm beyond, whilst also closing in on the subtleties and nuances of space. 'Infinity' reflects a further duality of purpose - to capture that sense of enormity presented by an unexplored universe; and to bring to the fore the inimitable possibilities offered by the artist’s chosen medium. "I continue to be surprised by the seemingly infinite possibilities my technique creates," says Steven. "It's definitely a celestial journey for me, right in my own studio."

Steven's work has been featured on TV ('Better Homes and Gardens') and in print in publications such as Vogue Apartment Living, Belle, Interiors, Trends, Inside Out and Italian Elle Decor.

For further information, please email ng@ngart.com.au

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