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 water, 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 work, she combines her knowledge of Persian miniature painting as well as European watercolour traditions. In recent years, Sue has been fascinated with capturing the ephemeral qualities of water. She has drawn inspiration from time spent in locations such as the wetlands on the east coast of Tasmania, waterholes of Central Australia as well as lakes in the Western Arthur Range and south west Tasmania. As Sue says, “I think of the surface of water as a threshold space, a place of liminality, an intermediate or transitional space between the known and unknown, between the cacophonous sounds of life above and the imperceptible sounds below. The linear tracery of ripples and shadows on the surface echoes a planar view of river systems in the landscape, patterns of veins or wrinkled skin.” 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. Sue won the 2020 Elaine Bermingham National Watercolour Prize in Landscape Painting and was awarded a Highly Commended in the 2017 Hadley’s Art Prize. Sue has had over 30 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.