Sue Smith paintings selected for Queensland Regional Art Awards 2017

Rockhampton based artist Sue Smith is delighted two of her recent paintings 'Letter from Longreach' and 'There are places I remember' have been selected by 'Flying Arts Alliance' in their Queensland Regional Art Awards.

An established Australian artist with two successful exhibitions 'Swept Away' and 'Thirty six views of Castle Hill', and works in regional council and university collections, Sue is encouraged her new work is gaining curatorial recognition. 

"Recently I have been focussing on regional Queensland identities and places which I enjoy exploring, and I work in both acrylics and oils. I enjoy creating complex compositions which keeps me interested during the long painting process".

Moving right along

Michael Walker’s new single ‘Don’t Stop’ follows the release of his EP ‘Michael Walker – Now and Then’ in 2015 which featured the single ‘Dreams - could take you somewhere’. 

Lyrically whimsical and laced with subtle parody, the subsequent clip for ‘Don’t Stop’ is a perfect foil for the song. Recorded in 'real time', the footage was taken on the Eurostar travelling from London to Paris in 2015.

"The speed of the train juxtaposed against the beauty of the landscape was exhilarating. Adding the footage to the music with only one edit, created a synchronicity with the lyric I loved!" Michael said.

‘Don’t Stop’ was recorded on a four track cassette Tascam Porta Studio – the same console on which Bruce Springsteen recorded and released his critically acclaimed album “Nebraska”.

“As well as having analogue tape warmth, I loved recording on the 4 track” Michael said. “Being limited to 4 inputs, every note is important, committing to tape is critical, and the arrangement and production must capture the essence of the song and retain its intent”.

"Revisiting the 1980s era, the vintage AKAI S900 sampler and Yamaha DX7 synthesizer used in ‘Don’t Stop’ are considered classic and highly regarded by purist recording engineers and producers" Michael added.

Music licensing consultant Kim Green (Mad Max, Priscilla, The Great Gatsby etc) thought the clip was great, and the song  sounded “Fabulous - and as hooky as always!” Australian producer Alex Markwell (The Delta Riggs, The Pretty Littles) said “it sounds great - don’t change a thing, it just has a certain charm”.

"Don't stop" can be purchased through iTunes

New music video strikes a chord

"Brilliant", "I love it", "What an uplifting tune", "Totally ace song and video!!!!", "Very good" have been some of the email and FaceBook feedback to Michael Walker's new music video "Dreams - could take you somewhere".

Michael Walker in Sue Smith painting "Dreaming of Hokusai"

Australian artist Sue Smith teamed up with songwriter and musician Michael Walker and film maker Peter Lawrence to produce a music video of Michael's new single "Dreams - could take you somewhere". Utilizing paintings from Sue Smith's successful exhibitions 'Swept Away' and 'Thirty-six Views of Castle Hill' as a backdrop, the resulting film is a swirling journey across clouds of surrealistic dreams.
Michael Walker in Sue Smith painting "To the underworld"The production team is thrilled but not surprised at the reaction. "The clip is quite unique and the song and images just fit together like hand and glove" Walker commented. "When a film clip enhances the song, that is the best outcome anyone can ask for" he added.

The song is from the newly released EP "Michael Walker: Now and then" which can be downloaded

Sue Smith "36 Views of Castle Hill" Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville

Australian artist Sue Smith - Zen tide, Pallarenda BeachFollowing the 'sell out' success of her last exhibition "Swept Away" in 2011, Australian artist Sue Smith's exhibition "Thirty-six Views of Castle Hill" was opened by Sydney Morning Herald Art Critic John McDonald on Friday 19th December 2014, at the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Townsville, and will run until February 15, 2015. The online catalogue can be found here

(High resolution images are at the end of this article)

To the Islands

TO THE ISLANDS: exploring works created by artists on Dunk, Bedarra and Timana Islands between the 1930s and 1990s, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville 18 October – 1 December 2013; Cairns Regional Gallery 10 January – 9 March 2014

Reviewed by SUE SMITH

Yvonne Cohen (1914-2004) Mango trees 1945 oil on composition board 45.5 x 50.5 cm
Purchased 1986 with the assistance of North Queensland Cement Ltd
City of Townsville Art Collection

“Emilio Pucci”: A Book Review

The secret was in the cut and the combination of colours, according to the prince of prints

Sue Smith

Emilio Pucci: a new book by Vanessa FriedmanDARK-eyed, good-looking Marchese Emilio Pucci (1914-1992), Italy’s aristocratic dress designer, known as “the prince of prints” and “the man who put women in pants”, always believed a good cut was the secret of casual style – along with an unerring eye for colour combinations.

Now a stunning new coffee table book (Emilio Pucci by Vanessa Friedman (Taschen) ), presenting hundreds of photographs, drawings and candid shots from the archive of the Emilio Pucci Foundation, reveals the vision of the Italian designer whose label grew from one tiny boutique on the isle of Capri to an international brand beloved by wealthy sophisticates, heiresses and movie stars.

Pucci, who began dabbling in fashion as an amateur after 14 years as an officer pilot in the Italian Air Force, created a sensation in 1948 with his slim, tapered trousers which he admitted came about largely by accident.

How Cecil Beaton photographed the stars


Sue Smith

Cecil Beaton "Edith Sitwell 1927THE audacious photograph was of Edith Sitwell, the English poet, taken as if she was a gothic tomb sculpture, with flowers all around her and her hands crossed on her chest.  On its first exhibition, in December 1927, at London’s Chenil Galleries in Bond Street, some people thought it rather beautiful.  On the other hand, on the show’s opening day a lady of title was heard to declare, “She looks as putrid as her poetry.”

This was probably the nearest thing to controversy experienced by the man behind the camera, Cecil Beaton, in his charmed career of more than half a century as photographer to socialites, cinema stars and royalty. 

Not that Beaton did not possess a needle-sharp and occasionally cruel wit, as a sumptuous new coffee table book, Beaton in Vogue, attests.  Beaton’s columns and articles for Vogue often had a critical edge, even when he wrote about those he admired, such as Greta Garbo: “her mouth being knife-like, and lips perpetually moistened by her adder-like tongue” — a rather startling description of the woman, who playfully called him “Beattie” and whom he had sought to marry.

Women of Style

1912:  Audiences 100 years ago adored Sarah Bernhardt, the flamboyant French actress and indomitable self-promoter

Sue Smith

Style Diva: Alphonse Mucha's poster La Dame aux camelias 1896FEATURE films as sophisticated entertainment and picture palaces with lavish decoration and comfortable seats really came into their own in every town in Australia in 1912.  That year, audiences everywhere thronged to see the leading lady of the age, Sarah Bernhardt, in Queen Elizabeth, the first five reel feature ever made and the most successful film of the French actress’s career.  (Today, it can be glimpsed on YouTube and is also available on video.)

Photoplay Magazine: Front Cover - Sarah Bernhardt as Queen ElizabethFew have mastered the art of showmanship as spectacularly as the “Divine Sarah”.  Her acting was stellar and her affairs scandalous, matched only by her canny ability to turn both into cold cash, according to Robert Gottlieb in Sarah, a sharp 2010 biography of the woman whose name became a byword for theatrics.

Bernhardt’s first publicity stunt was to shout, “You miserable bitch” at a grande dame of the Paris theatre and slap her around the face, after the hapless woman shoved Bernhardt’s younger sister.  Henry James thought her an advertising genius, and indeed Bernhardt’s eccentric self-promotion topped the antics of even modern stars as extreme as Lady GaGa and Madonna.  Forget wearing meat and pointy bras – Sarah wore a hat adorned with a stuffed bat, always went on tour with her own coffin and once toured the US with an alligator called Ali-Gaga (which died, unfortunately, after consuming too much milk and champagne). 

Seeing the universe in an infinity of polka dots

The universe in an infinite net of dots: Yayoi Kusama installation "Soul under the moon" Tate ModernAn obsessive Japanese conceptual artist calls the outsider artist label into question, writes Sue Smith

Yayoi Kusama

Continues until June 5, 2012




PERHAPS one of the most alluring (if illogical) personas attributed to artists is that of the antisocial Outsider – the uneducated, untrained naïf, the tribal artist, the criminal, underprivileged or insane individual, who lives beyond the conventional norms of society and is motivated purely by the joy of making art, untainted by awareness of the art world and the art marketplace.

Matisse and Picasso: the mistress's eyewitness account

A perceptive woman had insight into an intense relationship, writes Sue Smith

December 3, 2011 ─ March 4, 2012

Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

Over nearly half a century, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso inspired, challenged and continually surprised each other with powerful and inventive paintings and sculptures. 

Memories of the intense friendship and rivalry between the two titans of 20th century art have been revived by two superb exhibitions now in their last weeks in Australia.  Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is presenting Matisse: Drawing Life until 4 March 2012, while Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales has almost filled its ground floor with some 150 paintings, drawing and sculptures in Picasso: masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, continuing until 25 March.

Henri Matisse Blue Nude 1907The friendship began in 1905 in Paris, where just two years later Matisse shocked the art world with his Blue Nude, its twisted, contorted form expressing a kind of brute force as it also departed from tradition in colour.  Soon afterwards, Picasso responded with the equally brutal Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. The work challenged Matisse, and laid down the gauntlet for a lifetime of competitive taunting and prodding which eventually deepened into respectful acknowledgement and a lifelong exchange of ideas.

Crucially, writes Jack Flam, ‘both Matisse and Picasso were primarily painters of women, and the erotic plays an important part in the work of both artists.’  During the years between 1925 and 1940, Flam adds, ‘part of the artistic rivalry between Matisse and Picasso was acted out as a kind of duel that revolved around the depictions of some of these women. 

Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde:


Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Masterpieces from the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris

The Art Gallery of Ontario is bringing the magic, whimsy and wonder of a Jewish master to Canada in October, writes Sue Smith in her preview of this exhibition.

October 18, 2011 ─ January 15, 2012
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

Marc Chagall Les maries de la Tour Eiffel 1938"IF I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing."

In a major exhibition which opens in October at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the inner world of the Russian poet of Jewish life, love and despair will be on view in paintings never seen before in Canada.

The 118 works in the exhibition will be drawn entirely from the collection of the Musee National d'art Moderne in the Centre Pompidou. The show will feature 32 works by Chagall and eight by Kandinsky, alongside art works by Kasimir Malevich, Natalia Goncharova, Sonia Delaunay and Vladimir Tatlin.

The exhibition aims to examine the influence of Chagall's Russian heritage on his art, and will show how he at turns embraced and rejected avant-garde movements in modern art as he developed his personal style.

The vibrant characters in Chagall's magical paintings reflect the world that bubbled up inside him: his love of wife Bella, music, theatre and his memories of Jewish tradition.

Neither dull reality nor the laws of gravity apply to the people and objects in these works. 

"Les maries de le Tour Eiffel" (1938) shows the artist with rubbery, bendy legs, tenderly holding his wistful bride as they fly through the air on the back of a cockerel.

Margaret Olley

Grafico Topico Update: In memory of Margaret Olley

Although from some years ago, Sue Smith feels this review still captures the essence of Margaret Olley's approach to art and life.

Rushcutter's Bay and Still Life
Margaret Olley

Philip Bacon Galleries
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 1998

Review by Grafico Topico's SUE SMITH

An edited version of this review was first published in The Courier-Mail 17 October,1998

Margaret Olley "Rushcutter's Bay and Still Life"

THERE'S nothing like painting what you're familiar with," says Margaret Olley. "You can do all sorts of things with the ordinary." She pauses to consider the alternatives. "To go off and paint the Swiss mountains is a monumental task, best left to God!"

But though Olley, 76, mostly paints still-lifes and the interiors of her own house, her world is anything but limited. She is a knowledgeable benefactor, who has given to public galleries works by Arthur Boyd, Edgar Degas and Georgio Morandi, as well as early Indian sculptures and miniatures.

The range and depth of her own art has also been recently discovered: last year, an acclaimed retrospective exhibition of her work, presented in Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle, showed landscapes, nudes and self-portraits, as well as the interiors for which she is well-known.

And Olley has always been an open-minded traveller, absorbing new cultures and the master painters like a sponge: "I'm always trying to learn, (going) to the great sources," she says. In May this year, she went to London to see a huge Bonnard retrospective; before that, there was Rembrandt in Australia, Vermeer in Europe, and Matisse in New York. She has excellent recall, describing in detail paintings and exhibitions she has seen up to forty years ago.

As we speak, Olley talks constantly about the masters. It is partly a defense mechanism, a way of gently deflecting probing questions -- like most artists, Olley is reluctant to talk about the whys and wherefores of her own work. But she also loves these artists: they are her touchstones, her guiding angels. When, for example, she chooses to paint her favourite yellow room half a dozen times -- as in her current show at Brisbane's Phillip Bacon Galleries -- somewhere at the back of her mind are works such as Picasso's variations on the "seated woman" theme, a series she saw in Paris and has never forgotten.

Michael Walker new EP: Now and then

Michael Walker: Now and then; Original painting Sue Smith: Pocket of resistanceIn a radio interview in 1984, Michael Walker and Glen Muirhead from the band Solid Citizens were told their single ‘Singing in the shower’ had entered as number one, in its first week in the Bathurst charts displacing Michael Jackson’s current hit.Solid Citizens Singing in the shower 2015 remix

This success was the culmination of hard work and perseverance which had led them to record with producers, Mike Shipley and Mark Goldenberg, at the famed Manor Studios in Oxfordshire, UK. Shipley had just finished recording and mixing ‘Heartbeat City’ for the Cars, and Goldenberg had recently co-written ‘Automatic’ for the Pointer Sisters.

Michael and Glen were the founding members of Solid Citizens and, in 1982, released an independent single ‘You’re not alone’ which received airplay on 4ZZZ, FM104, was 2JJ DJ Tom Zelenka’s “song of the year” and resulted in deals with MCA Music and RCA Records.

“Recording at the Manor was interesting,” reflects Walker. “Apart from working in one of the world’s best studios with two of the hottest producers/songwriters in the world, we spent two weeks sharing the residential studios with studio owner, Richard Branson, who was an engaging eccentric”.

The release of ‘Singing in the shower’ led to an appearance on ABC’s Countdown, and the song charting in the national top 40.

Just Released:

New Music with Bill Riner and Brandon Stewart

Grafico Topico has recently discovered this great new music programme by ABC's music experts Bill Riner and Brandon Stewart, and we thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has a pulse.

Very experienced and knowledgeable music programmers, Bill and Brandon explore beyond commercial playlists, and search out the more unusual and interesting releases. Although not too far off the beaten track, the music is accessible and fresh, and the information about the artist and recordings thorough, in depth and informative.

Of particular interest to contemporary followers is Luiz Bonfá's "Seville (edit)" which features the sample used by Australian artist Gotyé featuring Kimbra's hit song "Somebody that I used to know" and currently #1 in the UK. Bill explores the original recording and how Gotyé uses the sample to underpin this hit record. The programme is worth listening to just for this fascinating revelation and insight.

Sue Smith "Swept Away"

SWEPT AWAY: Australian artist Sue Smith presented a "sold out" exhibition of her paintings at the Walter Reid Cultural Centre, Rockhampton in 2011, and is currently painting for her new exhibition to be held at The Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Townsville, Queensland, Australia and to be opened 19 December 2014


Sue Smith in her studio 2011Information about artist Sue Smith's successful previous solo exhibition "Swept Away" is available here. 

QFF Executive Director, Woodford Founder and Director Bill HauritzThe exhibition was opened by Bill Hauritz AM, Executive Director of the Queensland Folk Federation, Founder and Director of the Woodford Folk Festival.

“I first became aware of Sue’s paintings when I was in Rockhampton for the ROCKon Music industry summit in 2009. It was obvious to me then, she had the talent, passion and intellect to pursue a career in painting, and it’s a great pleasure for me to open what I consider a very significant exhibition” Mr. Hauritz said.


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