Lucy Vader’s first solo exhibition at Michael Reid Berlin, Nature/Nurture comes at a poignant moment, when all eyes are on the Australian landscape. An artist with a deep connection to farming and the land, Vader conveys both the tenderness and resilience of the Australian environment through her brush.
In Nature/Nurture, Vader points to the beauty in change – the optimism found in a drought-ravaged country whose animals and people now stand collectively selfless.
Lucy Vader’s paintings are collected internationally and held by the High Commission in London and Parliament House in Canberra, Australia.
Nature / nurture: that which was already present, a fundamental truth, being, or environment / and that which has been added, cultivated, taught, changed.
My paintings look at what I see as the grand and noble animals that are part of the environment that I paint within, and I also portray the often-challenging Australian landscape and the weather: conditions that will, occasionally, reward the patient, the lucky, and the tough.
I paint in different locations throughout the NSW country: Forbes, the Upper Hunter, Young. Kangaroos make statuesque silhouettes and bother rifle-ready farmers in paddocks by eating grass “preserved for their sheep!” while athlete emus race utes down the road, peering in at the driver, sometimes. I look at sheep, upon whose back was ridden a large part of the foundation of the Australian economy, graze endless tracts, and in drought, their colour matches the parched paddocks beneath an infinite pale blue sky. Meanwhile, feral deer totter in at night to towns from the tinder-dry hills to eat people’s beloved gardens; the roses are gone by dawn. Pests! But oh so beautiful.
I think the animals that I see are all magnificent: native, feral, or farmed, and I am in a love affair with the Australian landscape, even if it strains and cracks under the weight of the nurture put upon it.
– Lucy Vader, 2020
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