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Sue Fitzgerald

Sue has been a regular artist at the Catto over the years, and has a loyal and growing army of collectors. Over the decades Sue has travelled and worked extensively in the Middle and Far East, and the influence of her wanderings is immediately apparent from a glance at her work, which often features textiles and objects picked up from the souks and flea markets of these exotic destinations. 

Indeed, these materials are more than just represented: they’re actually inside the work. Sue’s working process involves building up multiple layers of mixed media – including textiles – and employing translucent and opaque acrylics to achieve those fantastic shimmering colours. 

For a few of the paintings in her new collection, Sue challenged herself a little by returning to watercolour for the first time in five years. Despite being an expert in the medium, she admits she was rusty. “It took a while to get used to watercolour again, and achieve what I set out to,” she explains. “But it’s good to shake things up a bit. You can get a but stale otherwise.” 

The choice of watercolour is not the only difference here. Sue’s canvases are bigger than normal, and the extra size seems to exaggerate the abstract element to what are broadly representational pieces. Sue’s work is recognisable for the way it flattens perspective – in the manner of painters from the ‘Nabis’ school such as Bonnard and Vuillard that so inspire her – and this foreshortening is somehow more dramatic in a larger canvas. Look at Plums And Red Dragon, for example. The title spells out the content, but this could easily be an abstract study in colour and shape. 

Of course, all of Sue’s trademark colours are present and correct here – particularly that radiant vermilion and the deep night sky amethyst that serves as the border for canvases such as The Green Cloth and Table From The Far East. However, long time admirers of Sue’s work will notice one marked departure in White Linen. It was inspired by another of the artist’s textile ‘finds’, and it’s a little more delicate than the other pieces. Wonderful, though.