S u s a n S h e r i d a n
Drawing and painting have always been important in my life. The structural lines of city buildings, bridges and ships allowed me to wander and discover my way through my paintings. Now, I turn to the wide-open spaces of Outback Australia where I still enjoy the lines, which can be so chaotic. I camp in quiet places, enjoying the sense of space, the ancient rocks and the trees around me, as well as the local birds with the quirky moments they can present. Returning to my studio, I translate my sketches and memories onto canvas or paper, hoping to capture the mood of the landscape.
Strongly drawn to art as a child, Susan Sheridan took extra art classes at school with Janna Bruce (who would herself become a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 1960). Initially, her intention was to study architecture but, after travelling overseas in 1957, she enrolled in the Interior Design course at the National Art School where she also studied painting with Peter Laverty, who had an important influence on her developing work. She was employed as a commercial artist until resigning from the permanent workforce to concentrate on painting.
Having lived on Cockatoo Island for some years, Sheridan’s early paintings depicted her love of the harbour, ships and city buildings. An early solo show featured the Sydney Opera House under construction while a subsequent one explored the theme of New Guinea, drawing upon her extensive travels in the Highlands. Most recently, a major subject in her oeuvre has been the Australian bush, particularly the Outback’s sense of space and vacancy. She has written of seeking to capture her subjects while still in the thrall of their initial impression and of ‘emphasising the light play and design, as well as the mood the subject evokes, pushing it to contain abstract elements.’
She has held 30 solo shows in galleries throughout Australia and participated in numerous group exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including the Mall Galleries, London, where her work was selected to hang with the Federation of British Artists in 1986, the Wagner Gallery, Hong Kong, and Out of Australia: Australian Contemporary Painting at the Liu Hai-Su Museum, Shanghai, 1998.
Among her art awards are the 1984 Mosman Art Prize and the Margaret Fesq Memorial Art Prize. She has been a finalist in the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on seven occasions.
Sheridan is represented in public, corporate and private collections in Australia and overseas, including Manly Art Gallery, Sydney, the University of New South Wales, the University of Newcastle, the Federal Airports Commission, the Opera House Trust and the Qantas collection. Her commissions include Hayman Island Resort, the Park Lane and Hilton Hotels, Sydney, and the Ramada Hotel, Parramatta.
She has been a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute since 1991.