• Sue Conradie

    Sue Conradie
    • Artist Statement
      • The philosophy of Humanism - the belief in the agency and power of human beings, rather than superstition, supernatural beliefs or religious dogma - is the foundation of my life and work. I am constantly searching for way to unravel the physical and emotional aspects of our humanity. In understanding ourselves as biological/emotional organisms who are part of nature, we might possibly be able to save ourselves as a species.

        I prefer the process and non-representational aspect of Abstract Expressionism. Either on its own, in large abstract works where colour becomes the subject or in combination with the figures and symbols that make up my portraits. The juxtaposition of the abstract and the figurative seems to result in a painting that is more surrealist than portrait and can sometimes end up as pop art.
    • Biography
      • UNISA – Creative Writing 2008.
        UCT course - What is Mind? (neuropsychology) 2016
        UCT Course – Medical Humanities (art in medicine) 2016
        University of Warwick - The mind is flat (psychology) currently studying

        My primary creative focus is painting. I also write as a way of expression and of getting to the nub of the ideas I wish to investigate in the paintings. Some of my poems have been published in the Rhodes University Journal (2008) as well as in Patricia Shonstein’s anthology: Africa! Poems of Love, Loss and Longing. I teach art once a week – It’s so rewarding being around the students and I love it when at first they think they have no creative talent at all and then they go ahead and produce a great piece of work  - I can almost physically see their self-esteem improve. I live in Cape Town with my husband and son.

        My work is part of collections in, Cape Town, London, Belgium, France and Austria

        Selected Exhibitions:

        EAST STREEET AUCTION  at East Street Studios
        ‘TINY ART’ – S.P.C. GALLERY,  CAPE TOWN (first prize in the portrait section & third prize overall).


        Group Show – THE STUDIO KALK BAY 


    • Interview
      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
        I really like the photography of Tony Gum. It seems to me that the African, South African and Cape Town art scenes are enjoying world-wide interest right now. There is so enormous talent and originality on our continent, a deep well of culture and a so-called new way of looking at life that is finally being acknowledged. I find it very exciting.

        Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
        Stanley Pinker is one of my favourite artists. I admire the way he was able to explore satire, metaphor and social commentary during an horrendous time in our history and yet still create beautiful artworks. Marlene Dumas, another of my favourites, was his student. Her ability to convey meaning with a few simple strokes of her brush is awe-inspiring. 
        Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?

        It was not an exhibition that made the greatest impact on me but the light in Venice. It literally took my breath away. I wanted to keep that light, take it with me. I think about it often.
        Where do you get your inspiration for your work?

        I’m inspired by ideas. My strongest influence comes from a life-long interest in people, supported by the philosophy of Humanism - a philosophy based on scientific evidence, without any interference from religious dogma, spirituality or superstition. I often do online courses around these topics, as well as studying art history. I sometimes use a title, a line or a concept from one of my poems to begin a painting. I’m inspired by many artists out there (past and present).   
        Rothko (et al) said “There is no good art about nothing” Contemporary Art has taken that to heart. Today so much of contemporary art is all about the idea behind the work and has very little to do with what the work looks like, or whether it evokes any emotion. I admire much of this work and I most definitely want to use my skills and this opportunity as an artist to express the many ideas I turn over in my head, but I also want give myself and whoever sees my work the chance to feel something as well to think and to produce something to look at besides a phone, a computer or tv screen.
        Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?
        I usually start with a bit of writing, I swirl around ideas that interest me to find the gist of what I want to express. Then I paint a wash of translucent colour on a canvas and leave it to dry. Once it’s dry, I glaze onto that layer, wiping back to the first layer to create the ‘drawing’– it’s a kind of reverse painting. Then I glaze several layers on top, making my marks and creating the form I want. I wait for each layer to dry so that I can build up many translucent layers leaving light to come through where I need it. This is the foundation of all my painting. 

        What do you like most about being an artist?
        Being constantly creative is very important to me. I like the risk of not knowing what’s in the void ahead. It keeps me moving forward. Artists have the freedom to speak about whatever we want in whatever language we choose. It’s a real privilege.

        How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block?
        In those times when lack of inspiration or overwhelm rears their heads, I focus on writing, improving my website or catching up on art history. Other times I try to paint anyway and make a few terrible drawings or paintings before something better starts to happen – if at all. I usually just put them aside or paint over them. It’s like spring cleaning my mind, getting rid of the clutter. Sometimes those drawings or paintings reveal interesting concepts or images that I can use later on. If that doesn’t work, I go meet a friend for coffee!

        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
        My greatest achievement regarding my work, would have to be in the final 100 of the SPI Portrait Award 2014 when there were over 1900 entries and I was still a new artist.

        Do you feel that you want to make a difference to the world or in people's lives? If yes, how?

        I’m not sure how much I could make a difference but the idea of speaking out in my own way gives me reason to get up in the morning. I love Africa. One of my ideas is emerging through a series called Beloved which includes people of Africa, mostly men, as they are, in their various jobs or going about their business, presented in the most charming way I can. My hope is that people and in particular my adopted son, welcome the celebration of the beauty and power of this amazing continent.

        What are your plans for the coming year?
        I will keep working and making art. I would love more opportunities to take part in group shows, I meet so many interesting people and find getting together with other artists really helpful. I plan to enter as many competitions as I have time for. Another goal is complete a Fine Art degree but that will have to wait a while.

  • Ain't Love Grand - Painting by Sue Conradie
    Ain't Love Grand
    Painting / 60 x 60 cm
  • Singing Fields - Painting by Sue Conradie
    Singing Fields
    Painting / 130 x 150 cm
  • What If I Told You The Truth - Painting by Sue Conradie
    What If I Told You The Truth
    Painting / 90 x 120 cm