John Vander

Landscape Painter Oil on Board

It is hard to believe 36 years ago, on Wednesday 25th June 1975, I had my first one-man show titled “Paintings of the Hunter Valley Vineyard District” at the now defunct Saints Gallery, Carlton.

Not long after my arrival from Belgium in 1969, I discovered and fell in love with the Hunter Valley.  Frances and I spent many weekends visiting, looking for subject matter and that attraction never diminished, maybe the wine had something to do with it!

Our daughter Katrine and her husband Cory chose the Hunter Valley to celebrate their Wedding in November 2006 and since then I have been revisiting the Hunter Region, which continues to inspire me.

Now 36 years after that successful first one-man show, I return with a collection of paintings depicting the area with a mature fresh eye.  The area has certainly changed since those early days, when only a few small vineyards were operating and occasionally a winemaker would barter some wine for a painting of their property.

Trevor Richards (Morpeth Gallery) and I had been talking about this exhibition for a while, our original target was 2010, which would have been exactly 35 years since the first show, however, my health did not allow me to produce a sufficient amount of paintings, so here we are 36 years later with my second show of the Hunter!

The early “white man” settlement of the Hunter Valley is fascinating, it offers everything from early agriculture, mining, timber logging, maritime trading along the river and of course the creation of a powerful wine industry.  All these activities have left their mark and one can find reminders of small harbour towns and villages.

For an artist such as myself that rich historic past is a constant source of inspiration and I hope that the collection of works I have assembled for this exhibition will reflect my love of the area.

I would like to thank my delightful wife Frances for her help and constant support and Trevor Richards for accepting to hold this exhibition, most likely to be my last one of the Hunter Valley.


July 2011