For the Love of Fruit and Veg – Alice Straker

In my latest series, I wanted to explore fruit and vegetables in a graphic and original way. As subjects they offer a vibrant palette and beautiful shapes and textures which I could see working well on colourful backgrounds. For inspiration, I needed to look no further than my Mum’s kitchen garden, which is located below my studio and is brimming with seasonal goodies. Last year I started a series of vegetables using watercolours, which as a medium worked well for capturing fine details. With this new series I wanted to use acrylic paint, to help convey a sense of realness and three-dimensionality.

In previous works I have been drawn to the aesthetics of repetition, which features in paintings such as ‘Magnums’ in 2015, where I painted eight Magnum ice creams across two lines, playfully changing the colour of the final Magnum bottom right. Repetition is not a new technique and has been used throughout the History of Art for different purposes. Monet for example chose to paint the same scene over and over again at different times of the day, to show the ephemerality of light. Andy Warhol used it in a mechanical way, to convey the growth of mass reproduction and consumption in the 1960s. The Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, uses repetition for an entirely different reason again, to reflect the obsessive nature of her internal state of mind. I have used this technique because it has an aesthetic quality, which helps to convey a sense of rhythm and order. I have made each repeated object slightly different and individual to the next, as fruit and vegetables are imperfect and differ in shape and size. Occasionally I have divulged from the repetition of three and split the subject into two pieces, as seen in ‘Avocado’ and ‘Butternut squash’. This is for aesthetic reasons and to add a bit of variety. 

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