2016 Hong Kong
ALL POINTS OF THE COMPASS
Still life with Chinese yellow bowl, 2016, brings together many of the core elements of Terry Batt’s approach to art. Exhibited in ‘All Points of the Compass’, Hong Kong, 2016, the work is a specific reference to Batt’s wanderlust mentality as well as the composite nature of his compositions, visual sources and ideas.
The painting is first and foremost an exercise in pictorial order and restraint. The artist uses the phrase ‘quiet elegance’ to refer to the painting and this is reflected in the adroit combination of pattern against void, contrasting colours, carefully engineered shapes and a series of repeated motifs.
A bowl of fruit is perched on the edge of a table. The precariousness of the bowl’s placement is counterbalanced by the chequered tablecloth that falls away to the left but draws the viewer’s eye back to the right-hand side of the painting. Once there the eye rests on the background foliage, a visual motif that softens and provides a mid-range tone between the grey-green background and the multiple shades of the cloth. The orange of the bowl and its brightly painted butterflies and text provide a focal point and this is offset by the deep green leaves that flatten out the composition and link to the field of green.
Still life with Chinese yellow bowl illustrates Terry Batt’s artistic training and heritage and his immersion in a foreign culture that he had come to call his second home. The traditions of Western still life genre are well known to Batt and the idea of simplicity and honesty before nature. Like revered European artists such as a Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin (1699-1779) and traditional Chinese masters, Batt takes as his starting point how lifelike you can make something through the creation of a unity of tone, colour and form. Batt, like many before him, sees art as a macrocosm of a much larger whole and the process of suspending (dis)belief.
Still life with Chinese yellow bowl, 2016
oil on linen
152 x 152 cm