Opens Friday February 22 2008
“There seems to be something about life in the suburbs that is intrinsically
Australian. No matter who you are, where you come from or what you
do, there are suburban rituals that link us all - the weekend ‘barbie’, a
game of backyard cricket, mowing the lawn. There is a certain feeling
of belonging and a comforting familiarity with the everyday ‘goings-on’
which borders on nostalgia. The childhood memories of swinging off the
Hills Hoist or playing under the sprinkler in summer conjure up images
of simpler times. These paintings are those images, my personal view of
the things around me - my life in ‘Suburbium’.” Susan Simonini 2008
A masterful mix of simplicity and refinement, Susan Simonini’s paintings and silk-
screened assemblages interpret the sights and sounds of the suburban landscape.
It is there, in what might be considered the most unpromising of contemporary
environments, that Simonini finds creative sustenance. Her family has lived on the
Gold Coast for generations and much has changed since her great-grandfather
was the mayor of Southport in the 1920’s. Now, with her own home and studio
in its suburbs, this is her reality. Susan Simonini paints what she knows.
Suburbium is Susan Simonini’s first solo exhibition and an ambivalent affection informs the works. They reference a host of suburban cultural cliches
as well as the now prevalent aspiration to live in a magazine-chic house that has open-planned interiors, ‘designer’ furnishings, outdoor entertainment
areas and a dog or two. The paintings Home Sweet Home, The Outlook, Real Estate Agent and Backyard Barbeque are typical. Visually
embracing her environment, the insatiably curious Simonini is constantly sketching the people and things that surround her. With a natural affinity for
shape she distills the observed into the wonderfully stylized human figures, animals, birds and exotic plant-life that populate her boards and canvases.
The mundane and familiar are reinvented and transformed.
Traditional perspective has been abandoned in favour of pictorial space and her ideographed forms are rendered flat and silhouette-like
against multi-layered grounds but Simonini’s primary concern is not with surface pattern. One’s relationship to others and the environment is paramount.
Her innate understanding of spatial arrangement imparts a sense of balance and harmony while aspects of the ordinary give attention to the quality
of our lives - they reflect human choices, human limitations. Simonini’s heavy-bodied figures, for all their mock-monumental quality, are treated with
compassion. Suburbium presents an affirmation - a celebration of the Everyday where the commonplace is elevated and suburbia becomes a dignified
Last year Susan Simonini won a number of art awards including the 2007 Border Art Prize. Its judges, Gold Coast City Art Gallery director John Walsh,
Tweed River Art Gallery director Susi Muddiman and nationally recognised artist Peter Powditch, described their choice as having “ a strong sense of
place and an unassuming, well-constructed composition.”
Susan Simonini is currently undertaking the final year of a Bachelor of Fine Art degree with Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. AWARDS 2007:
Winner, Border Art Prize, Gold Coast City Art Gallery; First Prize, Queensland Villages Acquisitive Art Prize, Brisbane; First Prize, 2D Section, Gold Coast Art
and Design Awards; Best Work under $500 – Rotary Art Spectacular, Brisbane; Finalist - Churchie National Emerging Art Exhibition, Brisbane; Finalist -
Flying Arts Regional Art Awards, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery; 2006: Griffith University Award for Academic Excellence. 2005: Griffith University Award
for Academic Excellence. 2004: Griffith University Award for Academic Excellence. 2003: Overall Major Prize Winner, Marymount Arts Festival, Gold Coast; First
Prize, Abstract Division, Rotary Art Show, Gold Coast. COLLECTIONS Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Anglican Church Grammar School, Brisbane, Queensland
Villages, Moreton Bay College, Brisbane. MEDIA “Making a Mark” Australian Art Review, Issue 13, March-June 2007; Gold Coast Bulletin, Paradise Magazine,
October 20, 2007; Channel 9 Gold Coast News, October 11, 2007.