Dr Chris Fearne
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health

The Covid-19 pandemic has put us all to the test in many different ways and one of these key tests was to put our minds at work and think of alternative solutions for situations that usually involve mass gatherings of people. Artist Ray Piscopo has just completed a virtual art gallery entitled OPUS 20XX, which includes photos of ninety of his original paintings done over the recent past.  Ray created this project in view of the social distancing regulations currently in force. His virtual art gallery is making it possible for more people to view his paintings not just in Malta but worldwide. I congratulate him for his initiative.

Fr Marius Zerafa
Former Director of the Museums Department, the author of Caravaggio Diaries, the protagonist (one of the main ones) in the recovery of Caravaggio’s St Jerome and a talented and passionate artist

I have had the good fortune to work with Ing Ray Piscopo when Mater Dei was being commissioned to go into service. At the time, as part of The Healing Arts Committee, we worked on a scheme to embellish with art works the public spaces and certain wards within the hospital because it was rightly felt that art, apart from the aesthetic value, can have a therapeutic effect. Every man is an artist, the artist is a special kind of man. Artists are gifted people who can create beauty, and beauty can be enjoyed by all. Every man has aesthetic needs, that works of art can satisfy.  Ray Piscopo has had a very successful engineering career, a true homo faber but now he is also producing interesting works of art things of beauty that are a joy to so many. His new project of setting up a virtual art gallery to make art available to a wide public is not only valid, but also highly commendable.

Anabel Cordina
Anabel Cordina (b.1980) studied Art Education as well as Fine Art Printmaking. She attended fine art workshops in Malta, Austria, and Germany, and was an artist in residence at the Frans Masareel Centre for graphic arts in Belgium. Cordina works within the Education Sector and is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Malta. She took part in a number of collective exhibitions both in Malta and Italy.

As an artist and educator, I have always been fascinated by a person’s drive to create. What promptly comes across when one visits the recently launched online exhibition OPUS 20XX by Ray Piscopo, is his industrious artistic nature. The artist gives the viewer the possibility to experience a variety of themes, from current affair issues to spiritual musings, all tackled with a rigorous investigative approach. Piscopo is a reflective commentator, his artworks are narrative to his thoughts. He delves beneath the surface of things, at times literally especially when revisiting old masters work whereby, he deconstructs and reconstructs the work, in order to arrive at what he deems to be of essence. The human figure is central to the collection, appearing realistically at times, whilst resurfacing as a synthesis in other occasions.

As one moves virtually though the exhibits, the productive, methodical nature of Piscopo is palpable. Fascinated by the intensity of colour, he stresses the need for order. Here one perceives a dual nature; the artist and engineer, whereby the two exist symbiotically. Piscopo’s artworks are meticulous, at times painstakingly engineered to meet the requirements of a pre -conceived idea. Indeed sometimes, the works are possibly approached in the same problem-solving logical manner of an engineer, who needs to systematically deconstruct a problem, before being able to find an agreeable solution.

The current period of isolation and social distancing is a time for increased self –reflection for many. This virtual gallery tour is another way to reach an audience, who are physically social distanced from the works. Of interest are the number of works specifically executed during this period. There is an immediacy and boldness in execution, an open invitation to the viewer to stop in their tracks and self-reflect through the artist’s work, but there is nothing spoon-fed; in Piscopo’s own words "…the meaning is there for those who seek to find it."

Prof. Charmaine Gauci
Professor and Superintendent of Public Health and the Faculty of Medicine & Surgery

"The pandemic has changed the world with little time for people to adapt. Arts and culture are excellent means of supporting people to express themselves, connect with others and give hope. We have the means of sharing art collections with others in the limitations of social distancing. I support this virtual art gallery entitled OPUS 20XX by the artist Ray Piscopo – this is the means of finding solutions to support each other and help people to cope."