All wide-eyed and full of wonderment but sometimes fearful and cautious in their approach, the characters in Natalie Wadlington's vibrant oil paintings are seen to encounter wild and domesticated animals, offering a charming, often humorous look at our relationship with nature. You could say these symbolic scenes mirror our own complex struggles for love and understanding.
From today, the Library Street Collective will feature the Texas-based artist's latest series and examine her inspirations both past and present. There are also insightful conversations with artists Gina Beavers and Allison Zuckerman about her practice.
"Natalie's works are layered in their defence of our innate connection to other species in the natural world, which is an idea she reinforces through each aspect of the painting process, from composition and hierarchy to texture, colour, light and shadow," explains the platform. "The works are undeniably whimsical; however, Wadlington's insight and care mean that every decision is made in the spirit of mutualism and concerning real-life environmental nuance. One of the most prominent characteristics of her unique works is compositional unity, where the curves of figurative bodies break and continue as the outline of a dog, fish, or snapping turtle, connecting human and animal in an infinite loop of mutual dependence."
If you take a closer look at Natalie's paintings, you'll see there's a similarity to natural materials in her brushstrokes – patterns and textures from woven rugs, straw hats, and knit fabrics as well as trees, rocks, and wooden floorboards. In this attention to detail and texture, she again celebrates the natural world and addresses the delicate balance of nature and our precious resources.
With a rich colour palette, warm lighting and distinctive style, Natalie Wadlington's oil paintings don't just reveal her love of nature and eagerness to protect the environment; they remind us to consider our own relationship with the planet and remain hopeful that things will only get better.
"My paintings are based on storytelling and figuration," Natalie says. "They are specific metaphors which communicate larger, archetypal narratives of love, conflict, and misunderstanding, specifically in our relationship to animals."
Born in Modesto, California, she completed her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2020. She was a resident fellow at Ox-Bow School of Art and Artist Residency in 2019. She has had her work featured in New American Paintings and has shown in exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Discover more at nataliewadlington.com.