Sue Smalkowski


My work is informed by her habitat—I see, breathe and hear the ocean from my front doorstep. I find wonder in the myriad of life forms in the rock pools that dot my nearby beach but I also draw inspiration from the surrounding bushland and escarpment that hugs the Illawarra Coast.  As Vincent van Gogh stated: “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”

 rhythmic encounters   19-29 March 2016

Opening 2-4pm Saturday 19 March by Max Dingle

Hazelhurst Community Gallery,782 The Kingsway, Gymea NSW Ph: 02 85365700

A recent trip to Hill End, once a former gold-digging site in country New South Wales, has inspired Sue to capture the movement, majesty and transient beauty of the Australian bush and its yellow and pink canyons on canvas. This exhibition, ’rhythmic encounters’ expresses the dynamic entanglement of flora and fauna, light and rock. The bush and gullies surrounding Hill End are adorned with towering, scrappy gums and scrubby undergrowth. I was drawn to this area where columns of towering, unkempt gums usher visitors into nature’s olive green and grey canopy. Golden gullies, adorned by patchy pink rock formations beckon you further.

I stop, transfixed by the microcosm of life within this broad natural shelter and the unexpected sensory pleasures found amongst this inland treasure, the scrubby undergrowth, the pinkish rocks adored by sunbathing wildlife who barely register my presence.  The capricious light, chirrups from darting bird life, the tang of gum and fragrant, fresh earth, the sleight of a lizard’s head, evoke a feeling of intimacy.

This current work celebrates her encounter in the tradition of en plein air, the joy and challenge of painting in the outdoors. In working through the ever-changing relationship between painting and place, Sue uses palate knife, loose brush marks and the scrapping back of paint to layer my work so that it reflects the ephemerality and complexity of the outdoors. The paintings in this exhibition take more risks with colour and texture than her previous exhibitions. While the smaller pieces and watercolours seem fresh and spontaneous, the larger works have been refined in her studio evoking a more spirited quality.  Working in the tradition of en plein air involves immersing the self with nature in all its wonderment and ruggedness. These paintings are not meant to be static contemplations of nature; instead they suggest discord, rupture, and constant movement. Slashes of thick seemingly surprising uses of colour create a layering in which the eye is not meant to settle. This visual task involves searching the entire painting examining how hand techniques and the complex meshing of shades of green, orange, red, blue and pinks combine to evoke a rhythmic encounter with nature.

Dr Robyn Morris
Lecturer & ERA Facilitator
University of Wollongong
NSW 2522 Australia.



2016 Wollongong Private Hospital
2014 MG Dingle & GB Huges Collection
2006  MG Dingle & GB Hughes Collection
2001  North Wollongong Institute of Technology

2004      NAVA Marketing grant

Solo Exhibitions

2016 ‘rhythmic encounters’ Hazlehurst Gallery, Gymea, Sydney

2014 ‘Exhibition with a Difference’ Weaver Terrace, Sandon
2011 ‘Stratums of Change’ – Harrison Galleries. Paddington
2010 ‘Refraction of Light’ Sheahan Galleries, Clifton School of Arts, Clifton
2008 ‘Receding & Revealing’ Hazelhurst Community Gallery, Gymea, Sydney
2006 ‘Subtle Inflections’ Hazelhurst Community Gallery, Gymea, Sydney

Art Prizes
2015 Overall Art Prize – Thirroul Seaside Arts Festival
2013 Highly Commended – Thirroul Seaside Arts Festival
2008 Commended – Alvaro Painting Prize -Bowral
2006 Highly Commended – Norvill Art Prize for Australian Landscape
2006 Norvill Unpackers’ Prize awarded by Members of Murrurundi Arts Council

Mob: 0439940022



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