Monday, March 29, 2010

2009 work

Within my overall theme of Detail in Nature, my recent work, which will be on exhibition during April 2010 at the Fire Station Print Studio in Armadale, explores the particular facets of "tracks" and "flows"



Born in Western Australia in 1952 of British migrant parents, Melbourne artist Sue Top trained first as a Town Planner.

“ I worked for 26 years as a Strategic Planner, but as my family grew up, satisfaction with the profession diminished and I dreamt of a time when I could indulge myself in making art instead. Art had always been my favourite subject at school but it did not strike me as a very sensible career move when, at the age of 18, I had to choose a career path. I therefore opted to be a Planner instead, studying at Melbourne University.  I did continue to paint and draw as a hobby in the intervening years, though opportunities were limited when my family was young. It was not until 2002 and my youngest son entered University that I was able to hang up my "plans" and return to art full time. I started by undertaking a Diploma of Visual Arts during 2002 and 2003, plus 2 extra units of study to provide me with an additional minor (Printmaking) in 2004. Then, keen to develop my practise immediately and to evolve my subject and style through experience and experimentation unfettered, I opted to begin work from my own studio rather than complete any more study. 

Since 2005 I have been establishing myself as an artist, working from a home studio and printing at the Firestation Print Studio in Armadale (Melbourne). As I like variety I paint, draw and also print, exhibiting my work regularly (see CV). 

While both media and style have evolved over time, my work continues to be inspired by detail in the natural world, taking a specific aspect of nature to explore in detail for each separate body of work."

Curiculum Vitae



I have an abiding fascination with detail in nature and this inspires all of my work. I have always been more interested in the intricate patterns of a leaf, tree bark, rock, sand etc than in the scenery around me when I walk and this interest became more of an obsession once I started to concentrate on making art.

I take photos of all of this rich detail while walking and then reinterpret these in my studio to create works upon a specific theme. I have been developing a consistent body of work for exhibition that explores a particular theme, every 2 years (eg: fungus, shore platforms). The work explores forms and patterns most people do not notice while out in the countryside and can be seemingly abstract. It is often interpreted by others in a variety of ways, though a frequent comment is that it is very "organic." I prefer to use general titles and encourage individual interpretation. If my exploration of lichen reminds someone of snowflakes, that is fine.

· Bachelor of Town and Regional Planning, Melbourne University, 1975
· Diploma of Visual Arts, Holmesglen TAFE, Moorabbin Campus (full time) – graduating 2004


· Over 30 years of experience in drawing and painting undertaken as a continuing hobby while working as a Town Planner, followed by 10 years of practise as a full time artist. During those 10 years I have exhibited regularly both in group and solo shows.
· My many years as a Strategic Planner developed my organisational and problem solving skills, which have been invaluable in my practise as a full time artist



+ Rough and Smooth, September – Oct 2004, Firestation Print Studio, Armadale
+ Different views, Nov 2005 (as above)
+ Lunchtime Loitering, Oct 2007 (as above)
+ Down to Detail, Oct 2008 (as above)
+ Track and Flow, April 2010, (as above)
+ Under the Microscope, October 2011(as above)
+ Fungus Meets Ferrite, October 2013 (as above)
+ Sea + Land = , October 2015 (as above)

All of these solo exhibitions have been organised, curated and hung by me.


+ Postcards Exhibition – regular entries
+ West Space A4 Exhibition – 2003, 2004, 2005
+ Peculiar fascinations, an exhibition with 6 ex art college associates at 69 Smith St – April 2006
+ Living Patterns, an exhibition with 2 friends at Kingston Arts Centre – September/October 2006
+ That’s Life – exhibition of Life Drawing through Firestation Print Studio 2009+ (I have been responsible for curating the show)
+ Ongoing exhibition with three friends at Pheonix Park café in Chadstone until 2014. Work changed every two months
+ Paper Cuts exhibition (selected as major exhibitor), Dec 2010, Pigment Gallery, Nicholas Building
+ Recurrent and one off Firestation Print Studio group shows including Summer Salon and Glow
+ Quadrant Gallery Summer Salon 2013, 2014


My main theme is the exploration of detail. Though initially my fascination was with detail in nature more recently it has extended to the man made as I have examined images of the internal structure of metals which have caught my imagination. Though the results are seemingly abstract, the works are referenced from photographs taken whilst bushwalking, one of my other passions or from images passed on to me by a son who works in metallurgy. I concentrate on following, interpreting and recreating the colours, lines, shapes and textures of the minute details of form and patterns.

While most people probably look at the whole scene when they happen upon an outlook or vista, my eyes soon travel from the big picture, interesting as it is, to examining the details. I gaze at the lace patterns of waves running up the shore, at the contours and colours in rocks which form mini landscapes all of their own and draw neverending inspiration from the intricacy and complexity of this close up view.

I work in paint, pencil and printmaking, often using the same subject matter in the different media. In painting I like to focus on colour and texture, combining string and impasto with oil and acrylic to increase the illusion of depth. In drawing too I enjoy creating the illusion of depth but also revel in intricacy of line. In printmaking in particular I delight in seeing how using colour, black and white, hand colouring, collage or mixed media affects the visual image and hence our interpretation of it.

Everyone seems to see something different in my work and this, to me, is another constant fascination.