Sue graduated in Fine Art with honours as a mature student in 1995. It was not until 2005, when she and her husband moved to North Yorkshire that she was able to think seriously about developing her career as an artist. Unfortunately a serious autoimmune illness put these plans on hold, during which time she also lost four of her best friends. Now fully fit, for the past two years Sue has been working hard, reflecting these experiences positively in her artistic practice. She had her first solo exhibition this year and is continuing to develop work on the themes of passing time, memory, loss and repetition.
I am AccessArt by Sue Gough…
My current work explores ideas concerning the passing of time, memory and loss. This is a serious subject, but, whereas much earlier work was dark and brooding, this recent body of drawings and paintings is lighter in tone, more positive and optimistic in its message and outlook.
The work is multi layered, full of gesture and mark making. The tally mark motif I feature in many of the works is a device for expressing the passage of time, the monotony of daily life, repetition and obsession and is a way of building up the surface of each piece.
The work is concerned with the cycle of life and the human condition. References to the landscape and the seasons provide the colours and textures, while the tally marks create the grids and structure.
Many of the drawings include layers of marks and scribbles, asemic text that I call “secret writing”, as well as actual words and sometimes, collage. I leave spaces within the work that allude to lost loved ones, these are “the departed” ones of the titles of many drawings.
These drawings were the starting point for the current paintings. They hold the key to the theme, mixing metaphors of textile structure and the landscape’s seasonal changes as I make them.
I have relished the opportunity to draw on several pieces at once that moving in to a new studio just over a year ago has afforded. Drawing has been the starting point for this body of work; the first ones were quite small, in a cheap sketchbook that I just happened to have to hand when I began and which I compulsively filled quite quickly. Since then, (the very end of 2011) I have continued to work on a variety of scales, on paper and in books, allowing myself to explore the theme, to see where it can take me and where I can take it.
I intend to continue with this theme until I can no longer produce work that reflects it. I usually have drawings and paintings on the go at the same time; I move from one painting to another, while one dries or if it requires some thought about what needs doing to it for the next session; and from a painting to drawings. This enables me to develop new ways of expressing my ideas within the theme, to keep my response flexible and fresh.
I am preparing to make a series of prints later this summer that will combine mono printing, collagraph and screen printing to produce some multi layered pieces and I am very much looking forward to spending some time exploring my ideas in this way. Later on I will approach some print making workshops I know of with a view to developing some etchings, which will require more specialist equipment than I have in my studio. My old mangle is OK for relief printing meanwhile!
The fine balance between logic and instinct is part of the dualism that has fascinated me since I began my career; I believe that the abstract elements of my work can express the ‘unsayable’ more successfully than pure figuration can. So many words are required to express something complex that a combination of colour, gesture and mark can convey to a viewer in a short time of looking. As has been said by many different people, many times, “painting can express things words can’t”.
I have included an activity here for creating layered images which you may like to try.
Please contact Sue at [email protected] if you are interested in discussing a workshop, talk, exhibiting or purchasing any of her work
March 17th – April 11th, “SKETCH 2013”, touring to Plymouth College of Art
Jan – Feb, “SKETCH 2013”, touring to Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome, Somerset.
Sept. 2013 – Oct 2013, “SKETCH 2013”, Rabley Drawing Centre, Marlborough, Wilts.
March 29th – April 28th, “Marking Time”. Solo exhibition, The Gallery, Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton le Hole, North, Yorkshire.
23rd February – 28th April, Ferens Open, Ferens Gallery, Hull.
29th January – 25th February. International Postcard Show, Surface Gallery, Nottingham. 2012: September. “The Great North Art Show”, Ripon Cathedral. Open submission.