Antony Micallef

Raw, fleshy portraits that explore ideas of the self

Antony Micallef (he/him) was born in 1975 in Swindon, England, and now lives and works in London.

Process

Antony uses a unique mix of oil paint and beeswax in his works. This helps to form the 3D nature of his works. Without the beeswax honeycomb structure, the pieces would fall apart under the weight.

Did you know?

Antony is not a stranger to controversy in his social commentary. Recently he satirised the face of previous US President Donald Trump onto cigarette packets. His intent was to highlight the threat he believed Trump posed to society.

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

Antony Micallef isn’t constrained by the boundaries of sculpture and painting. Instead, he uses thick impasto –  the process of layering on paint so it stands out from a surface – to create his 3D pieces. He also pushes this process to the extremes – scraping, twisting and ‘excavating’ the paint. Further texture is added by recycling dried paint from his palette and studio walls. The resulting pieces are distorted, charged and raw. This application is in sharp contract with the flat backgrounds of many of his paintings. Each one uses glazing techniques synonymous with the Renaissance artists like Rembrandt, and can often take weeks to perfect.

Through his work, Micallef dissects contemporary ideas of the self in the most personal way – by brutalising the self-portrait. In an age of social media, his attack on representation of the self-portrait feels particularly relevant. “I’ve stripped away the veneer and showed what lies beneath.” The combination of grotesque texture – alongside a palette of pinks and reds – makes each work somewhat disturbing. Often reminiscent of raw flesh. These portraits are stripped down to the bone. Through this distortion, Micallef presents works that are raw and full of emotion – a far cry from what he sees as the superficiality of appearances online.


“I want my forms to encompass a sense of life. This body of work is all about the materials used and the palpable essence of the material depicting a sense of being.”Antony Micallef