Agalis Manessiís work lies within the tradition of maiolica and celebrates this rich historical medium through diverse influences ranging from the Italian Istoriato dishes to the simplicity of humble folk wares. Striving for a poetic mastery through pictorial representation and a freshness of palette, the painting belies the difficulty of the process. Once dipped in glaze, the modelled forms and vessels become like primed canvasses.
Drawing upon experiences of viewing subjects in churches, museums and galleries as well as observations directly from life, Manessiís work is inspired by portraits and animals depicted by a variety of Renaissance painters such as Pisanello and Gentile di Fabriano, Flemish masters like Lucas Cranach, English artists Edwin Landseer, George Stubbs and Christopher Wood, and the Fauvist work of Maurice Dennis and Franz Marc. Animated vessels express a gentle humour which is offset by the suggestive poise of their condensed forms, camouflaged within the painted surface. Following in the tradition of English Delft, portrait dishes are softly coiled, with painted images built up of composite features worked up from notebook sketches. Modelled animals and figures take on a more enigmatic nature, communicating a silent yet eloquent message that resonates with the viewers.