b. 1975, United Kingdom

Lucy Skaer Biography

Cambridge-born artist Lucy Skaer works across disciplines including sculpture, film, and printmaking, subverting material, gesture or context to challenge the nature of perception and memory. Employing formal and historic references, drawing from a background of socially engaged and Environmental Art, she reconfigures familiar forms or narratives to examine how the meanings of objects, events, and works of art change over time. Skaer is based in Glasgow and London.

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Early Years

Skaer graduated with a BA Honours Fine Art from Glasgow School of Art in 1997. She is a founding member of the international artists' collective, Henry VIII's Wives. In 2002, the collective presented a scale model of Skara Brae, a Neolithic stone-built settlement in Orkney, Scotland.

Lucy Skaer Artworks

Skaer's practice examines the affective potential of objects and their spatial contexts, as well as the constraints of image-making. Interventions in architecture and objects often feature in her works, acting as disruptions that destabilise perception. Drawing from historic references and archival material, Skaer combines old and new forms of knowledge-making and craft across sculpture, installation, film, photography, and painting.

Black Alphabet and Leviathan Edge

In 2009, Skaer was nominated for the Turner Prize for her works Black Alphabet (2008) and Leviathan Edge (2009). The sculptural installation Black Alphabet comprised 26 coal cast copies of Constantin Brâncuși's Bird in Space (1932–1940), while Leviathan Edge featured a sperm whale skull visible through thin vertical slots occurring at regular intervals along a wall. The works sought to experiment with the tension between concealing and revealing, and between perception and deception.

The Green Man

For her exhibition, The Green Man (2018) at Talbot Rice Gallery, Skaer engaged with the University of Edinburgh's collections, presenting a collaborative film (with Rosalind Nashashibi), prints, sculpture, and archival material, inviting contributions from other artists including Fiona Connor, Hanneline Visnes, and Will Holder.

Referencing the titular historic figure recurrent throughout pagan and Christian history and imagery, Skaer's The Green Man explored the relationship between meaning and material, renewal and destruction. On the exhibition, Tom Jeffreys wrote for Frieze, 'By foregrounding medievally-inflected linguistic riddles, The Green Man makes a joyful game out of a visitor's faltering attempts to decipher meaning'.

Awards and Accolades

Skaer received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award (2016), and Prix Canson (2016). In 2009, she was nominated for the Turner Prize. In 2003 Skaer was short-listed for the art prize Becks Futures and exhibited at the first Scottish presentation at the Venice Biennale, where she also presented in 2007.

Skaer has held numerous residencies, including at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa (2021); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); Emily Carr University, Vancouver (2015); and Atelier Calder, Saché (2013).


Lucy Skaer has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally.

Select solo exhibitions include: GRIMM, London (2022); Rural Works, GRIMM, Amsterdam (2021); Forest on Fire, Bloomberg Space, London (2020–2021); Future Sun, S.M.A.K., Ghent (2019–2020); Day Divider, Meessen De Clercq, Brussels (2019); The Green Man, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2018); Sentiment, Peter Freeman Inc., New York (2018); Available Fonts, Salzburger Kunsthalle, Salzburg (2018).

Select group exhibitions include: Portrait of a Lady, Boghossian Foundation, Brussels (2022); Light enough to read by, The Physics Room, Christchurch (2021); Watou Arts Festival, Watou (2021); La Couleur crue, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes (2021); Groups and Spots, Contemporary Art at Baloise, Museum Franz Gertsch, Burgdorf (2021).


Skaer's works are held in major institutional collections worldwide including: Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate, London; LUX Collection, London; Arts Council Collection, London; Glasgow Women's Library, Glasgow; S.M.A.K., Ghent; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; among others.


Skaer is represented by GRIMM and Peter Freeman, Inc.


Lucy Skaer's website can be found here.

Ocula | 2022

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