Last week was a very busy one, with one half of the team (Sue) up in Brisbane for the Brisbane Art Prize and Life Art Worldwide Expo, while the other half (Steve) manned the gallery. What can one say? Well, no experience is ever entirely wasted, and it was a great opportunity to meet and chat at length with wonderful regional artists such as Lyne Marshall, Kym Barrett and Beatrice Prost. Perhaps we could consider an invitational Art Expo at Hillier Skuse Gallery some time next year? What do you think?
Our first twin exhibition openings are coming up in a little over a week. We are excited about the wonderful works our two artists have been producing, and we think you will be too. It should be a great show and a fun night.
Every day lately, wonderful new works have been coming into the gallery. Striking and innovative work from David Warren, beautiful romantic works from Tony Duarte and atmospheric seascapes from Leisa O’Brien, just this week.
Our two featured artists have very different ways of reacting to the landscape around them, but love of the natural world is paramount for both of them. We hope that you will find something that resonates in this show, whether your taste runs to the contemporary, or to the traditional.
For anyone seriously on a mission to acquire that special piece of artwork, pre-show viewing can be arranged by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HILLIER AND SKUSE GALLERY
This is a painting I did for the large group exhibition we have on at the gallery at the moment. I was aiming not so much for a serious depiction of a horse as something about the symbolic power and grace of the animal. I was also after a bit of a surreal feeling. You can see the whole catalogue of wonderful equine-themed artworks here: http://hillierskusegallery.com/
Jewel Box is another in the series of paintings I have been doing of Mudgeeraba Creek. I was walking along the edge of the creek one day when I noticed a shaft of light coming in between the tree branches and lighting up the stones on the floor of the creek with a golden glow. The richness of the reflections of leaves and branches, and the shapes and colours of the underlying rocks seemed to create a complicated sort of Rococco pattern; not a collection of mundane objects, but a secret cache of precious things. That’s why I’ve called the work ‘Jewel Box’.
Three views of Mudgeeraba Creek – 3x panels oil on canvas, mounted on board, 40x80cms each, overall 120×80 approx. Susan Skuse 2015.
I came up with this work as part of my Fine Arts Degree work and finished it up for the d’Arcy Doyle Award. I’m happy to report that the painting has found a new home, and, not only that, but another artlover has commissioned a similar work. I’m beginning to feel that I might have found my art “niche”.
For anyone who is interested in such things, here is my artist statement relating to this work, explaining the thought process behind it.
The aim of my painting is the appreciation of the natural world as a unity in which we are not objective observers, but an integral and undifferentiated part. For me, this involves painting in a realistic style and with an attachment to place.
My recent work has been based on a single place; a rainforest stream near my home. It is not that there is anything special about this place; there are thousands, perhaps millions of such places where the basic elements of water, rock, light and vegetation come together.
In Zen Buddhism there is a term, kensho, which implies a momentary enlightenment wherein one “sees nature” and also sees one’s own nature, with the sense that there is no duality between the ‘seer’ and the ‘seen’. My goal is for my painting to open the door to a such an experience.
In the set of three, titled ‘Focus Shirt, the top panel shows a distant view, which reads as a conventional landscape painting. In the second panel , the middle ground, the patterns of shapes are becoming more abstract, and in the bottom panel they are rendered more abstractly again, with primary interest being on the distorted shapes created by moving water and the colours.
This is my partner, Steve’s entry for the Holmes Art Prize, a stunning painting of the Black Shouldered Kite. It was an education to see the meticulous dedication that goes into painting a work like this. Long after I thought it was finished, Steve was working away, adding details and making subtle adjustments that I could hardly see. Very unlike my own slap-dash approach. But hey, vive la difference!
You can see more of Steve’s work, including some of his un-feathered birds at Visual Emporium – https://visualemporium.com.au/artists/steve-hillier/.
Here is how my bird panels look when put together as a single work. I am very honoured to have had this work selected as a finalist in the inaugural Holmes Art Prize run by the Regional Art Gallery of Caloundra. It is a specialised art prize calling for “excellence in the realistic representation of Australian birds”. They have attracted entries from the top nature and wildlife artists from all over Australia, so, without undue modesty, I am still wondering how I managed to get in. The show will be on from the 12th to 30th August at The Oakes Resort, Cnr. North Street and Landsborough Parade, Golden Beach. My partner Steve also has a work in the show – a beautiful painting of the Black Shouldered Kite, which I will post next.