Sue Lovegrove’s work explores her relationship to place, in particular the landscape of Tasmania, through close observation and sensory perceptions of the natural environment. Her paintings are subtle and emotionally evocative representations of shimmering light, air, space and the invisible phenomena of wind and weather. She uses fine delicate lines to create rhythms and patterns of movement across the surface with layers of subtle washes creating an exquisite depth to the paintings. In her recent work, she combines her knowledge of Persian miniature painting as well as European watercolour traditions. The result is a series of stunningly rich and extraordinarily detailed watercolour and gouache paintings based on her time spent exploring the wetlands on the east coast of Tasmania. As Sue says, “A small shallow seemingly perfect, round freshwater lagoon on the east coast of Tasmania is filled with water for the first time in many years and life crystallizes into action accompanied by a cacophony of sound as birds, frogs and insects all sing with an intensity ‘of the moment’ as if their life depends upon it. There is a full-bodied luminosity in the light that is polarised by the dark melancholy of all that has been in the landscape as well as what is to come. Within a few weeks the water recedes, and life returns to the shadows and is hidden invisible beneath the ground. It is a poignant and precious moment to witness.” In all of Sue’s work, she harnesses the rhythm of the place – the sounds and patterns, the cycle of emergence and retreat – creating works that are seemingly fleeting but vibrantly present.
Born in Adelaide, Sue Lovegrove graduated from ANU School of Art with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 1990 and a PhD in 2002. Her PhD research was on Aboriginal women’s painting from the desert with a focus on Indigenous perceptions of pictorial and cultural space in painting through experience of everyday life. Sue has undertaken numerous residencies in remote locations including Antarctica, Macquarie Island, Maatsuyker Island and Tasman Island and, in 2015, she studied Persian miniature painting at The Prince’s Foundation in London. In 2018, she was awarded an Australia Council Grant to publish ‘The Voice of Water’ in collaboration with Tasmanian poet Adrienne Eberhard, bringing together Adrienne’s poems and Sue’s paintings. She was also awarded a Highly Commended in the 2017 Hadley’s Art Prize. Sue has had over 25 solo exhibitions around Australia and her work is represented in numerous private and public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Parliament House, Macquarie Bank, Canberra Museum and Gallery and the University of Canberra.