Antony Micallef

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Antony Micallef
Antony Micallef.jpg
Born 1975 (1975)
Swindon, England
Nationality English
Education University of Plymouth
Known for Painting

Antony Micallef (born 1975 in Swindon), English contemporary artist and painter.

Micallef appeared on the British art scene in 2000, winning second prize in the BP Portrait Award competition.[1] Since then his mix of political imagery fused with contemporary expressionism has won him world wide acclaim. Recent exhibitions include group shows at the Royal Academy and the Tate Britain.

Collectors of his work include Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. His paintings examine the contemporary relationship with consumerism and branding among other themes. His work concerns itself with what he sees as the ‘frivolities’ of pop culture in a process that’s been dubbed ‘critical pop’.[2]


Born in Swindon, England and a graduate in Fine Arts from the University of Plymouth, some of Micallef's work illustrates many contemporary cultural aspects and connects them with the human experience. His use of neutral colors and depictions of the human form delve beyond pop culture and bring to the surface many of the things that operate underneath the cultural construct. Aspects of Micallef's work examines our dichotomous relationship with consumerism, questioning how we can despise multi-national brands yet still allow ourselves to be seduced by them. He frequently uses the union of two opposites to make an intriguing chemistry. Micallef's practice has been summarized as 'critical pop', exposing the darker side of our consumerist society and the human condition.

His painting style has been compared to Francis Bacon and is seen as an amalgamation of influences from the old masters such as Caravaggio and Velázquez to more modern contemporary photographers and graphic artists. His depiction of the human body and mark making echo his teachings from John Virtue, a former student of Frank Auerbach. The rawness of expressionistic painterly marks is a stark contrast to the more graphic elements which surfaces throughout his work.

From 18 June 2007 Sotheby's catalogue:

Having won second prize in the BP/Amoco Portrait of the Year awards in 2000, Anthony Micallef moved away from strict portraiture preferring to combine his exquisite draughtsmanship with a dark and passionate exploration of colour and contemporary expressionism as a means of dissecting what he sees as the frivolities of pop culture. He says, "The trouble with pop imagery is that it doesn’t really go deeper than the surface, you have to drag it down and challenge it to make it interesting. When you put two contrasting images together it causes friction and that is the bit I’m interested in." In the present work, the dark, Bacon-esque smears to the face conjure unlooked for associations when combined with the delicately alluring roses, the juxtaposition revealing at once the saccharine seduction of colourful pop imagery and consumerism alongside its dark and troubling underbelly. This complexity and brutal beauty explain why Anthony Micallef has become one of the most promising young artists working in Britain today.[3]

In 2012 to go alongside the AKA Peace Exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) [4] Art Below showcased selected works from the AKA Peace series on the London Underground including Micallef's. "AKA Peace" originally conceived by photographer Bran Symondson and now curated by artist Jake Chapman, is an exhibition of new works made specially for The Peace One Day Project 2012, bringing together a group of Contemporary Artists, all of whom agreed to transform a decommissioned AK-47 assault rifle, refashioning into artworks.[5]

Artist Statement[edit]

Key Exhibitions[edit]

Tunnel 228.
May 2009. London. UK
Antony Micallef participates in Tunnel 228, a show featuring over 20 artists and the theatre company Punchdrunk. A Metropolis-inspired exhibition with a mixture of art and live performance by actors. Located in the tunnels off Leak Street underneath Waterloo Station and directed by Kevin Spacey.

The Royal Academy.
1 November 2008 to Jan 19, 2009. London. UK
Antony Micallef was invited by the RA to take part in a group show showcasing new contemporaries. The 4 bronze, nickel plated 13 ft sculptures were displayed in the forecourt (Burlington Gardens). Parasite. The three meter square painting was exhibited inside.

The Tate Britain.
October 2008 - January 2009. London. UK
Antony Micallef along with Paula Rego and Mark Hearld were invited to take part in the 50th anniversary celebration of the famous Curwen Studios. To commemorate the occasion they exhibited a special limited edition lithograph print in the Tate Britain (Goodison Room).

Santa's Ghetto Bethlehem. Manger Square.
December 2007. Palestine.
Micallef participated in Santa's Ghetto in Bethlehem, a group show with over 30 international artists that raised almost $1 million to provide funding for local students attending Dar a-Kalima College, the only dedicated arts university in the Middle East. From this exhibition Micallef produced a body of work documenting his time spent behind the wall.

Impure Idols. Solo Exhibition.
September 2007. Hollywood. L.A.
Micallef's first solo show Stateside took place on Hollywood Boulevard and sold over 50 paintings in under two hours to international buyers including a host of celebrities and major art collectors.

Millenaris Park.
July 14 - August 30, 2005. Budapest. Hungary.
Micallef represented the UK in an international exhibition looking at urban counterculture, held in Budapest, Hungary in 2005. Micallef was invited by the directors of Millenaris Park, a government-funded arts organization to paint on a Trabant car, the icon of the communist era.

It's a Wonderful World. Solo Exhibition.
October6 – November 4, 2006. London. UK
Sell out show at the Lazarides Gallery in Greek Street. The first solo show for Micallef in London.

National Academy of Fine Arts. Solo Exhibition.
September 2005. Sofia. Bulgaria.
Antony Micallef hosts the biggest international solo exhibition in the most prestigious place in the country. Invited by Magazine One and sponsored by Global and Mini Cooper.

Eyestorm Milan. Solo Exhibition.
January 2006. Milan . Italy.
Antony Micallef presents a sell-out solo exhibition in the heart of Milan, Italy. The exhibition showcases a series of specially commissioned limited edition lithograph prints. As well as being exhibited in Milan the prints were also on show at the British Embassy in Florence alongside Damien Hirst, Peter Blake, and Richard Davidson.

The National Portrait Gallery.
June 2000. London. UK
Antony Micallef wins second prize in the BP Portrait Award competition the first time he enters. This is seen as the catalyst for his future career.


  1. ^ "[1]."Antony Micallef overview.
  2. ^ "Antony Micallef on the music that inspires his work.", September 2011.
  3. ^ "Antony Micallef - News". Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  4. ^ "Peace One Day’s 2012 Art Project". 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2013-03-07. 
  5. ^ "AKA BELOW". 2012-11-27. Retrieved 2013-03-07. 
  6. ^ a b "Antony Micallef". Archived from the original on 2006-06-13. Retrieved 2006-08-04. 

External links[edit]