BALE, A.M.E.; Leisure moments
In Leisure moments, AME Bale follows the tradition of students of the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, Melbourne, in producing a large narrative painting. The painting represents the newly acquired independence of Australian women, but it is also an intimate portrayal of the artist's lifestyle. It very probably depicts Bale's own studio - the artist may be the figure wearing a painting smock in the centre of the composition. The seated figure reading has been identified as Violet Bowes-Kelly, a fellow student.
Although the work depicts a bowl of flowers and a decorative vase, we see no evidence of the domestic felicities such as sewing or tending children that were often the subject of paintings at the time. These women, who are seemingly oblivious to the viewer, are positioned as educated, cultured women. Three books are incorporated into the painting, and a paint brush, representing the women's vocation, is casually discarded on the floor.