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Exhibition Introduction: ‘Lagoon Series’ from Susan Sheridan by David van Nunen, President of Australian Watercolour Institute

Susan Sheridan Art
Throughout a formidable career spanning four decades, Susan Sheridan has been peripatetic in her pursuit of landscape subjects. For some years, a recurrent motif in her oeuvre has been the Australian hinterland, most recently her outback excursions in the grasslands and savannahs of the Gulf country from Northern Queensland to Cape York.

This exhibition, Lagoon Series, is the culmination of Sheridan’s experiences there, demonstrating the diapason of the artist’s painterly responses to nature in its myriad moods and moments, as well as her inventiveness as a picture-maker. 

Susan Sheridan Art
Lily Pad Walker' by Susan Sheridan

Sheridan brings a gimlet eye to her lyrical impressions of the landscape, capturing the fleeting effects of light and the rhythmic anatomy of the terrain, with a particular focus on the abundant variety of birdlife and the arabesque trajectory of their balletic movements.

Invariably, these evocative, atmospheric works emerge from the artist’s plein air practice of graphically recording her impressions in situ, the alla prima sketches serving as a mnemonic in the further development of images in her studio. As is the case with much landscape-inspired painting, these images are meditations on time. Yet, equally, they are an expression of the visual poetics of space and form. Some reveal themselves directly in the instant of viewing while others impart their multi-layered interpretative properties only gradually. Whether the tempo is allegro or andante, the musicality of Sheridan’s compositions engage the viewer and produce an enduring impact.

Susan Sheridan Art'
'Brolga Dance' by Susan Sheridan

For more than 25 years, I have followed the evolution of Susan Sheridan’s work, most notably in my capacity as President of the Australian Watercolour Institute, of which she has distinguished herself as one of the most technically proficient, innovative and respected members since 1991. As a plein air landscape painter, I especially admire the reductive quality of Sheridan’s iconography, employing calligraphic lines and abstracted forms to convey a consummate picture of her experience of the Australian landscape.

Among Sheridan’s art awards are the 1984 Mosman Art Prize and the Margaret Fesq Memorial Art Prize. Moreover, she has been a finalist in the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery Of New South Wales on seven occasions.

Susan Sheridan Art
Susan Sheridan in Plein Air

She is represented in public, corporate and private collections in Australia and overseas, including Manly Art Gallery, the University of New South Wales, the University of Newcastle, the Federal Airports Commission, and the Qantas collection. Her commissions include Hayman Island Resort, the Park Lane and Hilton Hotels, Sydney and the Ramada Hotel, Parramatta.

David van Nunen
Australian Watercolour Institute

July 2017

‘Lagoon Series’, an exhibition by Susan Sheridan opens at Cooks Hill Galleries 6-8pm Friday 21 July, 2017. RSVP and invite your friends here.

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