Artist statement “The Fruit Bats”
This larger painting was inspired by Dutch and southern European still life paintings. Traditionally academic doctrines from that time placed ‘Still Life’ at the bottom of the hierarchy of subject matter (historical, Biblical or mythological paintings were at the top). However it was the impressionists and the Post Impressionists that broke away from long held traditions and used colour and technique to reinvent still life and improve its standing as a genre.
Having said that, this painting has been more influenced by Caravaggio realism, with the more traditional dark background, than by the Impressionists.
When the fruit bat population in the Melbourne Botanical gardens became too large and destructive to remain, they were moved to the bush land along the Yarra River in the inner Northern suburbs. In the warmer months members of this colony would make a nightly journey from the Yarra heading north, many of which flew over my house. I would enjoy watching them fly over as the sky became dark.
Assuming they were in search of food I made the connection of fruit bats and fruit in the context of traditional still life.
Oil on canvas
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