Sue Williams A'Court

Playing with ideas of identity, and perception questioning reality, Sue's portraits are landscapes of our 'own' imagination, a state of mind rather than a specific location.

Sue Williams A’Court’s practice explores the notion of the visual sublime working within painting, collage and drawing, she employs re-imagined landscapes as a trigger for encounter or contemplation. Classical landscape references are reinterpreted in a new context, rendered in graphite on a variety of surfaces. The form, composition and materiality are meticulously constructed to summon a state of mind rather than a specific location.

The tension between the precision drawing and the loosely painted ground references different models of art history and alludes to contrasting types of mental attention competing for the same psychological space. A' Court invites curiosity of ones own mental state.
Her interest has been formed by her meditation practice and by the ideas of pre-eminent psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist in his book “ The Master and His Emissary-the Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World”, presenting his research on the hemisphere differences and the different perspectives they have in constructing our current experience and impact on our society.

Sue Williams A’Court’s exquisitely borrows details from Arcadian landscapes of historical works to create a series of ‘portraits’. Exploring the way we subconsciously see human forms in the world around us, the paintings’ muted surface evoke Victorian photographs, yet the faces within emerge from delicately interwoven trees, paths and boulders. Playing with ideas of identity, and perception questioning reality, the portraits are landscapes of our own imagination, a state of mind rather than a specific location. Hovering ambiguously between our inner and outer worlds, their mesmerizing, miniature scale invites viewers to lose themselves in an intimate, contemplative reverie in which we no longer feel wholly separate from what we observe.


Regarding the work for the show Sue wrote: "I feel the landscape content of my painting transforms whilst I make the work from the original historical reference to have a certain mysterious creature quality that emerges almost unconsciously - the subject matter of my work presents a state of mind and is inspired by the concept of female divine in nature.  I resonate with the strange forms Dorethea Tanning refers to as “phantoms” and have always been inspired by surrealist ideas. The title of one of my paintings in this show “kiss the ground” references a quote by the surrealist Magritte ; “The kiss bestowed by the mind on the unconscious of nature and the imprint that it leaves”.


FALLING UPWARDS  (From here we can see it all)

Romantic landscape imagery forming places of shelter depicts multiple points of view within the light filled oval form. This detailed figuration contrasts with the gestural surround alluding to different genres of painting; the whole painting summoning a state of mind. Desire for transcendence, a metaphorical journey in search of the sublime. The ruins fall back into nature.  I wonder if it is possible for art or nature to be a trigger for an alternative experience to an age of anxiety? A longing for sweet security. Is this paradise an impossible dream?

Reference:                                                                                                                                                                    Gabriel Perelle “Old Master Landscape etching” c.1660                                                                                       Ernst Fries "Der heimkehven de Einsiedler” 1827                                                                                               Hubert Robert “Le Pont sur le Torrent” 1733                                                                                                    Giovanni Battista Piranesi “Ruins of the Xystus” c.1800  - “Frontispiece” c.1748 “view of the        Ponte Palario” - 1754  “View of the small waterfall in Tivoli” c.1769



This painting title quotes a stanza from “A Great Wagon” by Rumi      

“Today, like every other day,                                                                                                                                   we wake up empty and frightened.                                                                                                                Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.                                                                            Take down a musical instrument.                                                                                                                      Let the beauty we love be what we do                                                                                                         There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground”



When making this work I resonated with the strange forms Dorothea Tanning refers to as “phantoms”.        It feels like a coming together of the human form and that of the landscape a correlation between the human body and other forms in nature -quite visceral, like a portrait in that sense.

Reference:                                                                                                                                                            Kerstianen Keuninck “The Penitent Mary Magdalene in the wilderness” c.1560-1635



This artwork was inspired by seeing some rare Contemporary Tantric images collected by the poet Andre Jamme. I discovered the work was made by copying symbols from ancient manuscripts onto salvaged paper and used by the Tantric practitioners pinned up in their homes as visual aids to meditation. This fascinated me due to my own practice of transcendental meditation.



These works play with perception. By conflating genres of landscape and portraiture painting they hover ambiguously between an inner and outer world. This series began with an instance of pareidolia. whilst researching landscape i had an ahh-ha moment and saw a face in the natural forms.  I appropriate historical portrait and landscape references and present them in a new context.

Reference:                                                                                                                                                               Hudson: Asher Brown Durand (part of the Hudson River Painter Group) “Kindred Spirits”                   Duchess: Thomas Gainsborough “Lady Georgina Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire”                          Johann Wilhelm Schirmer “Elia am Bach Kerit"


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  • Sue Williams A'Court, Kiss the Ground 2, 2024
    Kiss the Ground 2, 2024
    Sue Williams A'Court, Kiss the Ground 2, 2024
    £ 14,000.00
  • Sue Williams A'Court, Duchess
    Sue Williams A'Court, Duchess
    £ 2,300.00
  • Sue Williams A'Court, Falling Upwards
    Falling Upwards
    Sue Williams A'Court, Falling Upwards
    £ 16,000.00
  • Sue Williams A'Court, Hudson
    Sue Williams A'Court, Hudson
    £ 2,300.00
  • Sue Williams A'Court, Sound of Freedom
    Sound of Freedom
    Sue Williams A'Court, Sound of Freedom
    £ 2,000.00
  • Sue Williams A'Court, Wilderness
    Sue Williams A'Court, Wilderness
    £ 7,000.00