Dennis Spiteri was born in Malta in 1948 and migrated to Australia with his family in 1954. He graduated from the National Gallery Art School in Melbourne (now the Victorian College of the Arts) in 1969.
Classical music informs most of his work. Each of the series of paintings he has produced have had particular music at their core. Beginning with his Mass in 1970 (inspired by Beethoven's Missa Solemnis), to his most current series A Mass of Life, inspired by the massive choral work of the same name by the English composer Frederick Delius.
Despite the outward stylistic change that has occurred in his work over the past fifty years, there is little difference between his current work and the earlier geometrical style. His art remains essentially about the same thing - the concern for essences – the need to explore the very soul of things.
One aspect of his work that has remained constant is his commitment to abstraction. This is due mainly to his dual allegiance to painting and music.
His interest in 'essences' and the expressive potential of the 'pure' abstraction of music has kept him wedded to an abstractionist ideal.
The writer Catherine Hoffmann has written of Dennis Spiteri’s work:
“These paintings come from a place of force and sincerity so very like truth, that at first their effect may seem uncongenial.
They are works from music, connected, intense and logical. As fiats of force, they ask you to leave likes and dislikes out of their contemplation. You go to them and experience their deep internal activity, each quality as a pure feature of itself. They are always dogmatic and resonant in aim. The intent of the work is to face a reality that opens energy. No easy outbursts of exalted emotion, they nonetheless take you there. Their movement is through terrific contention, doubt, speed, opposition, then - light.
There are no tricks, no easy anything here at all, but a logic that leads to supernova explosion."