The art of Melbourne-based Bruce Earles projects an enthusiasm that is infectious. A combination of elegant complexity and playful sentiment, his paintings present a very different response to the urban environment. Toy-like worlds of well-being, these vistas pulsate with life, light and glorious colour. The child-like nature of Bruce’s imagery belies the acuity of his intention and some quite notable career achievements. During the mid 80’s, he was an active member of the now famous Roar Studios in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Managed on a co-operative basis by the artists themselves, the studios provided an independent, alternative approach to the gallery system. Over the years Bruce has made several trips to New York City where on one occasion, he declined a ‘postcard-work’ proffered by a then very young and as yet, ‘undiscovered’ Jean-Michel Basquiat! The vitality of those heady, early days may still be evidenced in Earles’ most recent paintings, but it is now tempered with patience for detail - the result perhaps, of prodigious academic studies which earned him a Doctorate of Creative Arts degree in 2002.
It is the intensity of being alive which Bruce Earles wishes to impart. Landscape and culture intersect, form their layers, complicate one another and then resolve. Life in the city’s streets, parks, beaches and riverbanks - along with all the inevitable signs of urban progress and development - are portrayed as neither hostile nor indifferent. Everything seems uplifted in gestures of ‘joie de vivre’: the branches of trees; the arcing swoop of birds; the tails of friendly dogs; the raised arms of men, women and children - even the mechanical cranes reach up to sunny skies.
Although recognised as a figurative painter, Bruce is increasingly interested in the nuances of a painted surface. His latest works are characterised by an even greater emphasis on brilliance of hue and recall the pictures he made at the turn of this decade. Earles describes this shift as “a sort of going forwards by revisiting the past”. Further artworks documented contemporary life exploring the cultural dimensions of place. The inter-connectivity of place with personal perceptions and regional characteristics remain an important aspect of these works suggested through the use of brilliant colour and emotional immediacy.
Bruce Earles was with the Roar Studios from 1983 to 1987 when he decided to pursue formal art training which culminated in becoming a Doctor of Creative Arts, University of Western Sydney 2002. Degrees attained along the way include: Master of Arts, University of Western Sydney; Master of Educational Studies, Monash University 1996; Graduate Diploma in Art Education, Monash University, 1997.
As well as extensive showings throughout Australia, Bruce has exhibited Internationally at the Australian National Pavilion, Shanghai Art Fair 2007; Star Gallery, Chicago 2007; Beijing, 2005; Maska Gallery Seattle 1991; Emerging Collector, New York 1997; Gallery 212 Tokyo, 1985 and 1986. In 2000 he won the prestigious Pollock Krasner Award to undertake study in New York City where his work received mention in the Art in America publication.