The daughter of painter David Rae, Jude Rae was trained from a young age in the technical aspects of figurative painting, first at the Julian Ashton School of Art as a teenager, and later at the University of Sydney, where she attained her BA in Fine Arts in 1981, and then at the University of Canterbury, where she graduated with an MFA in Painting in 1992. Rae’s paintings have included draperies, figure studies and portraits, but she is best known for her extensive series of still life paintings. In these works, Rae depicts formal groupings of small objects—bowls, cups, bottles, jars, but also pressurised gas canisters and fire extinguishers—in intensely observed detail, making the viewer a party to a precise act of viewing and an exploration of light and surface. Her work intentionally disregards the symbolic or narrative dimensions of traditional still life practice, but also steers clear of pure formalism or abstraction, seeking to negotiate a middle ground between these approaches. In Rae’s words, her work is an attempt to find a “contemporary articulation” of the impetus and concepts behind the 19th century figurative tradition.