This is a selection of thirteen still lives of prepared food, from a series painted in 1997. It’s as many as I could recover at present. Twelve of them were exhibited at Pinacotheca gallery in Melbourne in 1998 (26th August – 19th September) in tandem with the Serenades series. Following Deep Shopping I wanted to look further at the theme of display and representation. Eventually I settled on prepared food as a suitable example, feeling that a switch to still lives might sharpen a few issues for me, give the figures and psychology a rest. Importantly, the works again scaled down slightly. I was becoming an easel painter! Albeit, one without an easel.

This was the first show where I thought my catalogue notes did justice to the works. So I’ll quote them. ‘Acquired Taste deals with supposedly appetising arrangements of food, yet the pictorial ambiguities and unusual cuisine make for some hesitation. How are we to sort out just what counts as food and not the way it is displayed or the way the display is pictured? We cannot. A good part of the making of food has to do with the way it looks, so its display strictly starts with ingredients and recipe. By the same token, a good part of display overlaps with pictorial concerns, in matters of point of view, composition, colour and depth. What counts as food turns out to be as blurred as displays or pictures.’ Or, pictures can enhance the flavour, acquire a taste.

I thought this was quite a successful series, with its absurd cuisine titles and rich, warm palette, owing much to advertising photography. At the same time I didn’t want to just refer to photographic practices or underline a genre, as others have done. I do not accept pure print qualities, even in general matters of composition, anymore than I accept pure painterly form. Or, I distrust the whole as much as its foundational parts. All the same, I suspect some of the success of the series rests with a readily discerned genre confining my versions. This success, however, was limited. Nothing sold and it failed to attract a review.

Sumatra Limesong 1997 42-X-36ins acrylic/canvas


Beef Burundi with Khareem 1997 42 X 36ins acrylic/canvas

Apple Logging with Corky 1997 42 X 36 ins acrylic/canvas

Duck Alphonse in a District Sauce 1998 42 X 36ins acrylic/canvas

Hot Log in Limbo 1997 35 X 32ins acrylic/canvas

Mrs Bell’s Misery 1997 35 X 32ins acrylic/canvas

Dutch Curry and Mule Varnish 1997 33 X 30ins acrylic/canvas

Elephant Dumplings Contrite 1997 33 X 30ins acrylic/canvas

Lemana with Savage Dog’s Garnish 1997 33 X 30ins acrylic/canvas

Call of The Wild in Bad Girl’s Gravy 1997 37 X 30ins acrylic/canvas

Rice Rumpy in a Ballarat Stockade 1997 33 X 30ins acrylic/canvas

Seafood Rapture with Mudstick 1997 33 X 30ins acrylic/canvas

Spicy Cheese Cuppings spiked with Hauteur 1997 33 X 30ins acrylic/canvas

Parrot Seed Fritata 1997 94 X 76cm acrylic/canvas

Catfish Pie with Sorry Salad 1997 94 X 76cm acrylic/canvas