2016 ''A Touch of Reality'' Bellingen N.S.W Solo
2016 ''Masterpiece Gallery Port Macquarie Group
2016 HVFAA Christmas Exhibition Laurieton N.S.W Group (Commended)
2016 "In The Time of Trees'' MVRG, Gladstone N.S.W. Australia, with Yvonne Kiely
2016 '' Pathways to Abstraction'' Glasshouse Port Macquarie NSW ( Group)
2015 "Masterpiece" Port Macquarie, NSW Australia (Group)
2014 "On the Edge" Glasshouse Port Macquarie NSW Australia (Group)
2014 "Northern Exposure 3" Glasshouse Port Macquarie NSW Australia (Finalist)
2014 “Masterpiece “ Port Macquarie, NSW Australia ( Group)
2013 “Small Works Exhibition’’ Brunswick Street Studio, Melbourne Victoria (Group)
2012 “Senzes in the Vineyards” Lake Cathie , NSW Australia (Duo)
2010 “Coming Home” Telegraph Point, NSW Australia (Solo)
2009 Soapbox--Artbox local artist exhibition Wilmington N.C. U.S.A. (Group)
2009 Three Views of the Sea Exhibition Wilmington N.C. U.S.A (Trio)
2009 Diverse Perspectives Exhibition---Wilmington N.C. U.S.A (Trio)
2008 Downtown Wilmington exhibition Wilmington NC U.S.A (Group)
2008 ''Painting America'' Bottega Art and Wine Gallery Wilmington N.C. U.S.A.
2008 Acme Art Studio's Spring Show Wilmington N.C. U.S.A.
2007 Acme Art Studio's Christmas Show Wilmington N.C. U.S.A.
2007 "Insight", Acme Art Studios, Wilmington N.C. U.S.A. with Michelle Connolly
2006 ''Anything Arty'' Gum Scrub Gallery Sydney Australia
2006 St. George Art Exhibition Sydney Australia
2006 Kiama Art Exhibition South Coast N.S.W. Australia
2006 The Port Macquarie Annual Invitation Exhibition Port Macquarie N.S.W. Australia
2005 The Hazelhurst Art on Paper Award Invitation Exhibition Sydney Australia
2005 Royale Easter Show Art Exhibition Sydney Australia
2004 Royale Easter Show Art Exhibition Sydney Australia
2003 Royale Easter Show Art Exhibition Sydney Australia
2002 Kurnel Art Society Sydney Australia
2002 Kiama Art Exhibition South Coast N.S.W. Australia
The Art of Gail Sue
Australian Contemporary Abstract Artist
The Masks of Nature: Three female artists reveal the relationship between masquerade and Mother Earth
May 27, 2009
by: Lauren Hodges
Artwork of Karen Crouch, Gail Sue and Leslie Pearson
The Reserve at Mayfaire Clubhouse
Reception: May 30, 5-8pm
Animals have been using disguises to mask themselves from the outside world since the Big Bang (or the Big “Bling!” depending on your beliefs). Some creatures use them to hide from predators, while others use camouflage to hide from prey. Whatever the use, the main goal is survival and prosperity in the natural world.
Humans use masks literally and metaphorically to hide their true natures in order to survive in society. Only the bravest of creatures go through life without a cover of some kind. Artists—with their hearts painted onto canvases, manipulated into sculpture and even, in Leslie Pearson’s case, sewn into a mask—are never lacking in guts.
“I work at ACME Art Studios,” Pearson says, giving credit for her courage to her tight-knit group of creative support. “It has come to mean so much to me. “With 22 working artists there, it has become a little family and a place to bounce ideas off of each other.”
At ACME the only masks worn are the ones Pearson tries on her friends for fun. To her the artistic collaboration within the studio is nature at its finest without the need for camouflage. “We really do have diverse backgrounds and interests outside of what we do in the studio, but our common bond is the way we are all passionate about our artwork. We all love what we do and understand that it is our creative outlet.”
Juices flow so willingly within the studio that it seems, well, natural that the beauty of nature is the biggest inspiration. “I ground my work in the essence of living things: vines, leaves, birds, trees,” metal sculptor Karen Crouch say. “Fronds become vessels; birds sit at the helm of deconstructed boats; trees snag moons; peas and vines tangle up sails. Increasingly, I ground pieces with stones. There is an element of solidity and an element of decay, but both are parts of the natural cycle.”
Crouch finds similarities in many of her colleagues’ works. Gail Sue, for instance, an Australian-born painter, inspires Crouch with her bold color choices, including violet, magenta and aqua, used on an otherwise earthy pallette. Crouch sees her work next to Sue’s as a complement, with each artist highlighting a different strength.
“While Gail pushes the color, I push the structure,” she says. “We are working in three different mediums, but each of us draws from the world around us, both the natural world and the man-made structures that help us live in and navigate that world.”
Pearson, Crouch and Sue all recently decided to see how much their different strengths could support each other’s works by pulling together a collaborative show. “We called our show ‘Diverse Perspectives,’” Sue says, “simply because it was hard to come up with a theme that would do justice to our different approaches and styles: Karen’s sculpture in bronze, Leslie’s leather and mixed media art, and my contemporary paintings in bright color. So I guess the theme of our show is the diversity of approach with three different artists presenting their visions.”
Yet, the theme might be more obvious than they realize. Pearson’s masks mixed with Crouch’s and Sue’s outdoor elements make a magnificent atmosphere like that of a masquerade garden party. The metaphor for masks in nature is cheeky and perfect for a group of such sharp women. Another obvious similarity is their shared love of curves and curls in their work. As a leather mask sways into a point for a Mardi Gras-style finish, Crouch’s iron vine snakes upward in the same fashion as does Sue’s palm tree swaying in the breeze. All elements of cohesion point to the group’s final similarity: a tendency to stray from the straight and narrow.
“I always want people to take away a sense of peace and hope,” Crouch says of her work. “Sometimes my birds are like little souls sailing along, looking forward, being still and hopeful. For much of my life I made little room for peace and stillness. I hope my work creates a little slice of that now.”
Most of all Pearson hopes to inspire creativity in others. “Seeing an exhibition of artwork is the catalyst for inspiration,” she says. “I’m always amazed at how inspired and encouraged I am after I’ve been to see someone’s artwork because it’s an expression of how they see the world around them. I think the community will be inspired because of the way we use the variety of materials in our work. Plus, it will be a lot of fun to try on some leather masks.”
''CONFLUENCE'' Manning Regional Art Gallery, 12 Macquarie St. Taree. From 17th November 2016 to 22nd January 2017
Americana on Canvas
Cavenaugh and Sue rekindle American pride
By: Lauren Hodges - October 22nd, 2008
The United States, with all of its flaws and hair-tearing issues, is still the home of the American Dream. It might be on hold for some or just under some serious scrutiny right now, but immigration to this country is still a popular move for millions of people these days. Patriotism might not be the hippest concept at the moment, thanks in part to “United We Stand” bumper stickers often ironically positioned next to the rebel flag or a sticker claiming that “man + woman = marriage” (a bit counterproductive, don’t ya think?).
However, recent months have shown an increase in voter registration, ratings boosts for the presidential debates, and packed stadiums supporting the candidates. It seems true patriotism is still alive in the good ol’ USA.
“We are America, through good times and bad,” local artist Deborah Cavenaugh says. “We are a dream, we are a future, we are a revolution that has become an evolution.”
Economic panic, war and natural disasters may be representing America in international headlines, but new residents of the country, like artist Gail Sue, wish more people could stop a minute and appreciate the awe-inspired beauty that spans the country coast-to-coast.
“Since relocating to Wilmington in 2007 from Sydney, Australia, I have had the opportunity to visit many beautiful American cities,” Sue tells. How did she plan to share her journey with the world? By painting it, of course. “Being an artist, it was only logical to pick up a canvas and a brush, and start painting,” she says.
Her studio at Acme Art Studios on North Fifth Avenue quickly became a brightly colored tribute to her new home—and her new friends. “The artists at Acme have become my American family,” she says. It was here that Sue met Deborah Cavenaugh, and the two women immediately bonded over a love for capturing American beauty on their canvases.
“[Deborah] is a wonderful artist of the Americana way of life, a true patriot,” Sue observes. “To my absolute delight, she liked what I was doing, too!”
“When I first saw Gail’s paintings of American street scenes and landscapes, I loved them so much for their color and their structure and their depth of texture and emotion,” Cavenaugh says. “I immediately wanted to do a show with her. Both of us would be painting America...me from the inside and her from the outside.”
The “outside,” in Sue’s collection is, as Cavenaugh stated, street scenes and landscapes. However, there is something alive in Sue’s brushstroke, making her paintings more than just the average outdoor scene.
Depending upon the color palette, they have moods. A city street in the painting “Chinatown” is done in runny greens, yellows and reds, alluding to the end of the day when the colorful street and its residents are tired and ready for a rest. A quirky three-story building in another piece, however, is painted in cheery purples and pinks, like a giddy girl all dressed up and ready for a big party. The contrast is a flattering statement about the different personalities that inhabit our country, our towns and sometimes even our bodies.
Most of Cavenaugh’s heartfelt collection, meant to draw from the “inside,” seem like stories from a children’s book: buying fruits and veggies from a farmer’s stand, flying a kite, and frolicking on the beach. One painting, though, does stand out as a bit more sober than the rest: a pieced-together image of the American flag.
“I am often asked what kind of painter I am,” she says in response to the stark difference between the flag and her other work. “I always answer, ‘I paint Americana.’” She goes on to defend her often sunny portrait of the American life, stating that it might be more attainable than some think, depending upon one’s attitude. “There is always a list of what is wrong and what needs work,” she says. “That is not where my attention goes. I paint about what is good that is not always noticed, what is beautiful that is not always seen, what is blessed that is not always acknowledged. I paint about who I am, where I came from, what I value, and what I see as good and important. I am painting not just my own memories and dreams but the dreams of those of us who believe in the light of America. I am painting about the beauty of the small, blessed moments in this, our American life.”
“Americana: featuring Gail Sue and Deborah Cavenaugh” will open at Bottega Gallery at 208 North Front Street on October 24th with an artist reception at 6pm. Visit www.bottegagallery.com or call 910-763-3737 for more details.
Sydney at the Studios: Australian art displayed at Acme
By: Lauren Hodges, Encore Magazine - Wilmington, NC (10/31/07)
Finding a partner is one of the hardest searches in life. Whether we’re looking for business, pleasure or just some support, the people who surround us
every day create our atmosphere, our homes, our journeys.
Michelle Connolly and Gail Sue have made quite the journey together over the past few years. Both hail from Sydney, Australia, both are extremely talented painters with a love for all things abstract and both exist as a source of professional inspiration for one another.
“She’s such a vibrant little person,” says Sue in her smart, down-under accent. “When we relocated here last year, we didn’t know anyone, so it was great to have each other. We actually met in 2000 through her husband, who is also an artist. Every year, he would have an art party, and we got to know each other that way. It’s strange how strong a friendship you can build with someone you really don’t see that often.”
Today they are new members of the Wilmington art community, sharing a downtown studio at Acme Art Studios on North Fifth Street. The space is filled with the pair’s variety of bizarre, beautiful paintings, with an artistic connection that’s immediately noticeable when examining the different pieces side by side: soulful jewel tones, dreamy paint drips, and tons of emotion are displayed in both collections.
Gail Sue is a former traditional painter who didn’t discover her true artistic medium until after her long-time mentor died. “After studying traditional art with him for 20 years, it was weird to realize that I was an abstract artist,” she remembers. She began to experiment with acrylics in 1992 and has remained loyal to them ever since, claiming to strive for “simplicity and freshness” in each piece. She cites influences like Renoir and Picasso but sees a lot of Kandinsky in her work. “I don’t paint exactly like him,” she explains, “but I do seem to have a similar view of shapes and colors that he did.”
There does seem to be a love affair with color and shape in Sue’s art. “Night City,” an abstract skyline of a city at night, doesn’t seem to leave out a single color in Sue’s paint collection. Each stretching skyscraper features at least seven different colors. In their shadows the shorter buildings are limited mostly to blues, purples and blacks. The city lights are not just portrayed by the traditional yellows and whites; bright orange, light green and even hot pink shine through the city, highlighting the life and motion of the people inhabiting the structures. In “Southport Pelicans,” Sue manages to channel her innate girliness with an unapologetic use of fuschia, while still keeping the piece dignified by painting the birds in black and white. The forms are strong and prominent, but the abstract element lies in the paint drips, visible brush strokes and unusual colors.
As for Michelle Connolly, born and raised in England, acrylics accompany watercolors and various mixed mediums in her process. Her self-described “bubbly personality” comes through in her sometimes humorous, never ordinary works.
“Luna,” a large, laughing face, is startling and aggressive. Connolly avoids a beaten path here by not matching her color pallette to the loud personality of the subject. Instead, she uses antique yellows, greens and browns for the skin, while painting the lips a deep burgundy. The painting is reminiscent of a carnival circa 1920, giving a fun yet creepy vibe in Connolly’s signature humorous tone. Naming the piece “Luna” (Latin for “moon”) alludes to the fact that the face might even be the Man in the Moon. It could almost be a scene right out of Alice in Wonderland.
The two women seem to have already settled into their artistic element at Acme. Continuing to surround themselves with support and inspiration, Sue and Connolly have found a family to join in the Port City art community. “This place is so great,” says Sue. “Everyone is wonderful here. Our fellow artists, like MJ Cunningham, have been so supportive of our first show. She has been helping us set up.” The close-knit but welcoming group of artists at Acme also include the likes of Arrow Ross, Dick Roberts and now Gail Sue and Michelle Connolly, who seem to fit in nicely. “The vibe here is so encouraging to constantly create,” gushes Sue.
This week, they are introducing themselves to the rest of Wilmington by hosting the art exhibit “In Sight.” The show will open on Friday, November 2nd, at 6pm, held in Acme Art Studios at 711 North Fifth Street. Call (910) 232-0823 for more information.