Thomas Webb, The Fox and the Grapes, 2020

Webb is one of us narrative painters here in Portland and created this work to hang in the upcoming Aesop’s Fables exhibition at Brassworks Gallery. The Fox and the Grapes is one of the stories from Aesop’s Fables, a collection of short stories that are believed to been told by ancient Greek slave and storyteller Aesop. In this particular story the Fox sees a bunch of juicy grapes hanging on the vine. He jumps and jumps, trying to reach the grapes, but eventually gives up. He tells himself ‘They’re probably sour grapes anyway, not worth jumping for.’ The moral of the story is that there are many who pretend to despise and belittle that which is beyond their reach.

Webb has taken a contemporary spin on the story; a grape-soda-coloured stripper swings around on the pole, but just a little too high for Fox to reach. His dollar bills lay scattered on the stage beneath her. After repeat denials he becomes frustrated, and so flips her the bird as he turns to march off angrily.

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