Earles was a member of the Fringe Arts Group and ArtWorkers’ Union before embarking on an arts study tour of major cities in the USA. The artist was captivated by the vibrancy of New York City. After returning to Australia to exhibit in Melbourne, Earles was drawn back to New York City, one of his most enduring sources of inspiration.
After returning to Melbourne, Earles joined the newly-formed ‘Roar’ collective in 1982. About 20 young art students had formed the highly influential, independent Roar collective which sought to break away from the conventions of the established art scene. From their ‘Roar Studios’ in Fitzroy, the passionate, innovative group of aspiring ‘raw’ young artists exhibited and created an art movement with their distinctive, bold style.
Earles, along with artists such as David Larwill, Pasquale Giardino, Mark Shaller, Sarah Faulkner and Peter Ferguson set out to have a profound and ongoing impact on the Australian art scene. A highly influential member of the group, Earles worked from his own studio at ‘Roar’. Works by members of the ‘Roar’ group are still highly sought after by collectors and curators today.
Uplifting narratives and riotous colour define Earles’ naive 'Roar' painting style. Richly textured, his stylistic works explore the potential for a harmonious and celebratory community identity. Sweeping his canvas with an infectious enthusiasm for life, Earles continues to display the passion and exuberance from the heady days of the ‘Roar’ collective and the influences of New York City, along the way, adding in the patience for detail.
Although recognised as a figurative painter, Earles 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”.
Embracing the joyfulness of life, the artist evokes a playful yet astute vision of the urban environment where landscape and culture mingle and merge. The visual impact of his work is striking through his use of colour and light in his ongoing celebration of life. As the artist is uplifted by the sheer joy of living, so too are his images: people raise their arms, birds swoop in arches, trees raise their branches to the sky, and dogs wag their tails. Even inanimate objects seem to take on a joyful life of their own. The brilliant hues of his more recent paintings speak of Earles’ continuing exploration of the interplay between paint and canvas.
Since 1983, Earles has exhibited extensively throughout Australia and internationally in New York, Washington, Seattle, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai and has many academic publications. Earles was Artist in Residence at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. In 2000, Earles was awarded the prestigious New York Pollock Krasner Foundation Award for Art and in 2001 was the recipient of a Research Grant from the University of Western Sydney.
Bruce Earles is widely acknowledged as having made a significant contribution to the contemporary Australian art movement.