On Friday 26 January 2024, Sue Smith from Rockhampton received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the arts as an artist and administrator.

Sue has been working in the art industry for around 50 years as a curator, writer, administrator, awards judge, and artist.

From being a Curator at the Queensland Art Gallery to Consultant Director and Acting Curator at the Brisbane City Gallery, and Manager of Arts for Rockhampton Regional Council and Director of the Rockhampton Art Gallery to Art Collection Manager at CQUniversity, she has been involved in countless artistic ventures.

Sue said she was pleased that awards like this throw a spotlight on the arts and the importance of the arts for individuals and communities, as this sometimes was overlooked.

“Art has the ability to add joy, beauty and vibrancy to peoples’ lives,” she said.

“I’m grateful for being honoured and having people around me who have supported me and my career over the years”: my family, friends and colleagues.

“You don’t achieve anything positive without working with people, so I consider this award something that I share with a lot of other people.”

She said some of her biggest achievements came from her time working in Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville, Emerald and Winton to help progress the careers of emerging and established artists.

She also said an art museum’s legacy for the future is its permanent collection, and being able to build collections in Rockhampton and Townsville was one of her biggest achievements.

“I was able to do this with the help of artists and donors to make stronger collections in those places,” Sue said.

Sue said that she believed that without art and art activities that bring people together, people would be lonely, more isolated and not as happy.

The Australia Day Awards showcase an important message to her of considering the benefit of the various things people do in life and their achievements.

“We’re all working together to make a better society and make a contribution where we can,” Sue said.

The Australian Honours and Awards system recognised the outstanding service and contributions of Australians.

Sue Smith Wins Prestigious Australian Art Prize

"Which way to Pine Gap, Mate?" wins major art prize!

Queensland based artist Sue Smith has continued her successful “Western Serenade” exhibition theme with a stunning new painting “Which way to Pine Gap, mate?” which has won the prestigious $10,000, ‘2023 John Villiers Outback Art Prize’. The prize is sponsored by the John Villiers Trust and has an annual overall prize pool of $17,500. The exhibition was officially opened by Dr. Cheryl Hirst, Director of the Trust on Saturday March 11, 2023.

Sue’s winning entry was selected from 250 national entries and judged by curators, Emily Wakeling (RMOA), and Lauren Turton (Artspace Mackay). Held at the ‘Outback Regional Gallery’ in the Waltzing Matilda Centre, Winton, Outback Gallery Exhibition Supervisor Karen Stephens, was impressed by the quality of the entrants in the finalists’ exhibition.

Sue’s painting takes you on a satirical journey between the surreal and the real, with a palette of vibrant colour depicting a semi-abstraction of the Isla Gorge outback landscape.   

The journey of a hero on horseback is a universal theme embraced and romanced by many cultures, and is saturated through American culture. In this artwork, the hero is the ‘Lone Ranger’ in a contemporary iteration as a hapless secret service agent lost near the western Queensland site of Isla Gorge while en route to the Australian-United States security facility, Pine Gap, near Alice Springs. The Lone Ranger’s gaily coloured outfit may be a reflection on his relationship with his absent law enforcing partner, Tonto.

An artist and serious scholar with a Master of Arts from London’s prestigious Courtauld Institute of Art, Sue hopes her work is accessible through “personal interpretation, tinged with a cheeky sense of humour”.  She hopes her work takes the viewer on a similar journey to the one she took when creating the work. “It’s not about the artist, not about the curator, it’s about the interaction with the viewer, their interpretation, and what they can take away from the work,” Sue explains. Sue Smith's art web site can be seen here https://suesmith.art


Sue Smith Exhibition Western Serenade


An exhibition by Sue Smith

The Blue Mirror, 153 Auckland Street, Gladstone 

Friday 7 – Sat 29 October
(Open Tue – Sat 7 am – 12 noon)

A vivid orange sunset with billowing clouds. A lonely rider on a hill plaintively strums his guitar.

Sue Smith has a flair for capturing the heat and colour of the Outback, and evoking the action of classic Western films along with their corresponding mythology. Although the days of an untamed frontier are long gone, the cowboy’s life remains an inspiration for many. The Blue Mirror Gallery, Gladstone, is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Sue Smith, whose work will inspire, provoke and mesmerise.

Left: Sunset serenade

View the online flip book catalogue here https://suesmith.art/western-serenade-catalogue/

Many of the paintings capture the iconic imagery of the West  ̶  cowboys and cattle, roundups, sunsets and cinema stars (the Lone Ranger and Clint Eastwood, the star of many spaghetti westerns, make appearances in two of the works).

Cactus serenade (Left)  
The one that got away (Right)

Sue Smith tells many tales of the West, from cowgirls and rodeo queens (including a surreal scene of cowgirl climate activists holding up a coal train) to Indigenous drovers and wild horses at home in our vast open landscapes.

I want your vote (Left)
No Exit (Ambush at High noon) Right

Artist Sue Smith New Web Site

Sue Smith in her studioAustralian artist Sue Smith has a new web site


The site provides examples of her work

and information about future exhibitions. 

Don't Stop (Loving me)

Renowned Australian producer/engineer Mark Opitz AM (AC/DC, INXS, Divinyls, Cold Chisel, Jimmy Barnes, The Angels, Bob Dylan, KISS)

Renowned UK producer/engineer Richard Manwaring (Fine Young Cannibals, OMD, Human League, Talking Heads, Van Morrison) 

“In love with the blues but seduced by pop” Michael takes a wild ride into the fantasy world of disco. Lyrically whimsical, ‘Don’t Stop (loving me)’ puts the fun back into today’s musical landscape.

The song embodies all the qualities a great song should, and the song's video takes the viewer on a ride into a surreal disco universe, featuring Michael Walker and the talented go-go dancer, Amber Oliver.

Credits: Music Production: Alex Markwell; Video Production: Greville Patterson Lyrics and Music: Michael Walker; Vocals: Michael Walker and Annette Henery; Guitar and drums: Alex Markwell; Bass: Scott Williams; Backing vocals: Annette Henery and Scott Williams; Backing Vocal Arrangement: Brian White. Audio mastering Brian Lucey.

Available on all online platforms and outlets: 
iTunes YouTube FaceBook Spotify TikTok Instagram


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.

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".


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