Suzanne Archer | Moving Forwards, Looking Back

It has been a great year for Suzanne Archer. Exhibiting throughout the year with multiple exhibitions, her final exhibition for 2016 'Moving Forwards, Looking Back – A survey 1969 – 2016' is point of celebration on a practice that covers nearly fifty years.

Recently finishing in November, Archer had a major survey exhibition curated by Sioux Garside that spanned three decades – Suzanne Archer: the alchemy of the studio at the Macquarie University Art Gallery.

Continuing this momentous year, Moving Forwards, Looking BackA survey 1969 – 2016 at Nicholas Thompson Gallery addresses this significant point of Archer’s established career, which seems to only be gaining energy. Whilst considerably smaller in size, this exhibition covers greater ground, selecting significant works from Archer’s forty-seven years of practice.

Born in the UK, Archer trained at the Sutton School of Art before moving to Australia in 1965. The significance of these early beginnings was not lost to the artist, who created a “childhood memory journal (Childhood Remembered)” as she noted ““I live 12,000 miles away and have no photos of my childhood – make a photo album – sketchbook of memories. Perhaps use text too.” From this Archer painted Radiating Memories, 1987, reflecting upon her childhood, stating “When I was young I lived for a short period in a caravan with my parents and younger brother in Kingswood, UK where I attended the very small local school. Prior to morning break we children would line up our milk bottles on the radiator and at break add powdered chocolate to them.”

It is these personal notations that results in an intimate look at the experiences that made Archer the artist she is today. Archer provides memories alongside each work in the exhibition catalogue, each telling insights behind the works that are markers of success and change in her practice.

Revealing the great influence of travel in Archer’s early practice, the works selected vary from her time as a young art student in the early 1980s at Greene Street Studios in New York, the following residence in the Power Studio at the Cite Internationale des Arts Paris, and to her first travels in Zimbabwe. Greatly different, each work reveals Archer constantly pushing the boundaries to where her practice would go.

From 1969 – 2016 the works selected in the exhibition morph and change from her early explorations in abstraction and text, to develop later into more figurative and metaphorical subjects. For any young artist, the exhibition is a great example of an established artist who maintained a passion to find new subjects and points of inspiration throughout her career.

Thoughtfully put together, Moving Forwards, Looking Back promises to be a distilled and compelling exhibition of Archer’s impressive career.

EXHIBITION
Suzanne Archer | Moving Forwards, Looking Back
17 – 23 December 2016 / 14 – 29 January 2017
Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne

Courtesy the artist and Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne. 

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