Sue Lovegrove travelled to Antarctica in the summer of 03/04 as the recipient of an Antarctic Arts fellowship. Sue is a Tasmanian visual artist, based in Longford. She has a PhD in Visual Art from ANU and has had her work purchased by national public and corporate institutions such as the National Gallery of Victoria, Parliament House, the ACT Legislative Assembly and the Macquarie Bank in Melbourne. She is highly regarded by the arts community, capable of translating and layering natural forms (geological, microbial, paleobotanical etc) into beautiful and meaningful works.
Sue proposed a project culminating in a series of 15 to 20 paintings, to be exhibited in Hobart and Victoria, lectures at universities (RMIT, Victorian College of the Arts, Canberra School of Art and the University of Tasmania) and articles for art journals.
I spent most of the journey on the bridge drawing and painting the ocean, the endless horizon or bergs passing like solitary white mountains lost in the ocean. It was a strange sensation steaming for days and weeks into the southern ocean waiting for the arrival of the ice.
Painting the ocean presented its own challenges: a multitude of layered patterns – small ripples and streaking on waves that sent plumes of spray in the air and then these made patterns on the bigger swells. And the exquisite range of greys: soft blue greys, grubby greys, creamy greys, dark indigo greys. At other times I painted from Terrascan satellite images – the ripples of cloud seen from the air in swirling lows and banks of cloud became brush marks that echoed the energy of the ocean and the ship's movement beautifully and in a way that the paintings never quite captured. And Macquarie Island will be another whole chapter – another whole exhibition.
In her paintings, Sue Lovegrove has tried to recreate the elusive and transient phenomena of the sea ice, the endless cycle of melting, cracking and refreezing, combined with a personal desire for a symbolic return to an immense whiteness.