Elements of Mood’ is an autobiographical statement, a diary expressing intimate feelings, sentiments, emotions and moods. It suggests an attraction and repulsion of forces, a clear polarity and an emphasized dichotomy. There is an equilibrium of forces: tranquillity, serenity and peace on one side and dynamic forces of stress, tension, entanglement, complexity and confusion on the other.

For Joseph Casapinta art is a catalyst, it is therapeutic, it heals the travails and vicissitudes of a journey strewn with obstacles and hurdles to overcome in its path. Moments of despair are interspersed with moments of great joy of oases of peace, of velvety serenity and exuberant celebration.

‘Smewwiet’ (Skies) is a touch of bliss and contentment. The artist finds solace in an abstract clouded sky. The pastel colours echo a chunk of Tiepolo’s soft rendition of atmospheric effect in his apotheoses, of gaseous nirvana. Close in mood is ‘Fox in Solitude’, ‘Obscured in Motion’, ‘Elements I & II’. In the backdrop of ‘Fox in Solitude’ the softness and melting effect contrast with the textured hard shell whose pyramidal construction is symbolic of strength, perseverance and fortitude. ‘Obscured in Motion’ is a nostalgic sky during twilight, a purging of negative emotions in a tranquil sea of contentment. “Elements I’ is celebrative, dynamic and exuberant while ‘Elements II’ is mellow, vibrant and therapeutic.

A link between high and low, positive and negative moods is wonderful works inspired by nature especially by the force of wind-lashed waves and rough sea. Perhaps the jewel of the collection is ‘Neptune’s Glory’: a path that leads to monumental megaliths, an open window on giant waves breaking on the shores of time into lather, fleecy foam and white flakes. Nature becomes sacral and begs reverence. Mighty, powerful, dynamic and overwhelmingly strong it echoes man’s frustration and angry mood. Yet it dwarfs man completely, makes him look puny and ineffectual. The angry sea deconstructs man, disciplines and silences him into oblivion, into nothingness. Man’s anger ebbs.

‘Neptune’, a related work is more conventional as a marine scene with an obscure cloudy sky, gale force wind and scudding waves. While ‘Neptune’s

Ride’ is the darkest of moods, ‘Down to the Waterline’ is an escape from tension and stress resolving anxiety when finally the traveller reaches through a valley the serenity of waves lapping the shore in ripples and the open vast spaces of sea and sky.

Suffering and life toiling against odds are symbolized in ‘Sofferenza’ where chunks of meat are pierced viciously by sharp nails and ‘Challenge’ where the obstacle of crossing the sea is ably depicted by a forest of piles stretching far out towards the horizon. ‘Road Rage’, cavernous and precipitous with cliffs and galleries is symbolic of the tension and stress in snarling traffic. Two orbs indicate the eyes of the harassed driver. A labyrinth of knotted roots reveals the uncertainty and confusion of an aching heart. ‘What has Become’, ‘Complicated’ and ‘Loose Ends’ illustrate this state of mind together with ‘Grotland’ and ‘Watching’. ‘Asperatus’ also in this category is dynamic in movement and expression. The oscillatory movement of the cloud in currents of air verges more on healing powers than desperate solutions. The ‘Old Tree’ symbolizes the wisdom of old age and depicts the groping, encroaching and spreading senility and eventual resignation.

In ‘Dunes of Tomorrow’ the gnarled and knotted roots dominate the foreground (present) while the background (future) is rolling sand dunes, shifting quicksands in a parched desert landscape. Hope is nourished in the calm stillness of a peaceful sky. ‘Faith’ corroborates this vision.

The contrast between ‘Wild Dance’ and ‘Dry after Melt’ epitomizes the whole collection of feelings. In ‘Wild Dance’ (a taste of Van Gogh) there is exultation and celebration in ‘Dry after Melt’ there is ‘denouement’ or resolution – psychic rather than scientific. There is a melting of form into bright red hot flows of lava.

Joseph Casapinta might not be able to verbally describe his moods but surely he is an expert at depicting them. Looking at his pictures as in a mirror he sees his own reflection, his own image in an objective critical way.

Night is falling on the land like a blanket. The sun disk, diaphanous red slowly and softly sinks among the waves. Silence reigns supreme. With a piercing scream an isolated seagull like Narcissus kisses its reflected image and disappears. The light, a time-switch gradually becomes soft grey and gently gives way to darkness. The tranquility, serenity and peace are overwhelming. Nature our master is a great healer. Painting is a feeble echo of such majesty. Abstract, real and surreal…

Art has shown Joseph things about him that he did not know. As Cassius told Brutus:  since you know you cannot see yourself / So well as by reflection, I Your glass, / Will modestly discover to yourself / That of yourself you know not of.

E. V. Borg