Vicki Luke is an artist who has a longstanding curiosity with our natural environment, the effects of climate change, as well as the myths of Eden and Paradise in relation to the human condition. Working across drawing, painting and sculpture, Vicki responds to the beauty and fragility of our natural environment, asking us to consider the plight of threatened species and disappearing ecosystems in an increasingly urbanised world.
The works in Vicki’s exhibition began in 2018 through Art of Threatened Species, an initiative of the Office of Environment and Heritage, Orana Arts and Create NSW. The project linked 10 NSW based artists with environmental scientists to select, research and make work about a particular threatened species. Vicki chose the Sloane’s froglet, an endangered species that lives in the local Albury Wodonga area and is found near her home at Thurgoona and worked with local experts to understand the Sloane story
A feeling of wonderment surrounded the ‘Sloane’s Ocularium’, a series of microscopic scaled gouache works on the surfaces of 162 vintage glass Optometrist lenses. These lenses encompassed the story of the Sloane’s froglet, where the imagery expanded to include how to identify the froglet, co inhabitants, ideal environments and direct threats. They also embraced how climate change impacts us all including scenes of lightning, fire and flood which has caused such havoc in Australia whilst this work was being made.
Vicki’s large-scale mixed-media work immersed the viewer in an imagined, ephemeral wetland ecosystem that was rich in local wildlife and plant species. The composition revealed and camouflaged hidden species in an environment that appeared untouched by human impact and reached as far as the microscopic world. Gilgai – echo of an ideal world, hoped to shed light on this rapidly changing environment within our region.