Sue Whitmore

Brought up in London, Sue Whitmore has spent her adult life in the city. She studied Fine Art at the Central, Wimbledon and Sir John Cass Schools of Art and read Philosophy and History of Art at University College London. Her father was the artist and teacher, Robert Whitmore.

The artist
Apart from regular trips in Britain, her landscape work has taken her all over the world working, amongst other places in Eire, France, Jamaica, Italy and the USA. She mentors twice yearly landscape painting weeks (May & October) in the Marina Baja north of Alicante (Old Olive Press) which has led to a group exhibition at the Pall Mall Deposit. She tutors drop-in Life Classes at the Tricycle Theatre on Thurday afternoons and evenings.

The poet
After five early 'slim' volumes, her first fat book of poems and drawings, "Sue, Realist" received critical acclaim for its 'interplay of poems and drawings from the imagination' (City Limits).
She won a Radio 4 competition, with an 'Alternative Christmas Poem' and is a member of 'Metrolands Poets' and 'The Brondesbury Group'.

The designer
She has completed many mural and theatre designs, including five years spent with W11 Children's Opera, two with AAC Opera for All, "Brilliant the Dinosaur" for Richard Stilgoe, and many pieces for director Chrys Salt.

The teacher

Every May and October Sue Whitmore mentors painting weeks in the Marina Baja mountains north of Alicante. For further information click here.

As a founder member, she chaired Brent Artists' Register for fifteen years, a role that entailed all aspects of art administration, from running studios and exhibitions to liaising with the local authority and businesses. Artist John Blandy is the current chair of B.A.R.


'Flat Earth':
"Like many other women, Susan Whitmore is no stranger to the conflicting demands of art and motherhood. Her exhibition at the Tricycle Theatre Gallery is dominated by figures undergoing sudden, perplexing shifts of identity. Heads are revealed as empty masks which hide their wearers' true feelings and sometimes strange creatures squat on the shoulders of people who seem unable to control their own lives."
Although some of her most ingenious compositions bring together an abundance of fragmented images, they are always organised with great discipline. Even as she gives vent to the conflicts within her, Whitmore knows how a defining line can clarify the most bewildering state of mind."
Evening Standard Richard Cork

'Personal Geology':
"Paintings and drawings, sculpture and poetry at the Tricycle Theatre Gallery . . . The exhibition follows two themes: one a group of landscapes depicting the country-side outside Palermo, Sicily. The other part of the exhibition, 'Personal Geology', develops themes and images shown in her 1982 exhibition. While the landscapes may be more accessible, the more personal drawings really correspond to feelings most people have to face, the conflicts and paradoxes of the human condition. Sue Whitmore [has an] instinctive and creative eye for a form of realism."
Kilburn Times John Clohessy

'Images of Ireland':
'Sue Realist' poetry & drawings, the Baldwin Room, at the Tricycle Theatre' . . . a remarkable feat of inventiveness and linear dexterity' 'The tranquil country scenes in this outstanding exhibition at the Tricycle Gallery were created around the Beare Peninsula in Southern Ireland in the autumn of 1991. The most extensive . . is the long charcoal and pastel drawing called 'Inch Strand, Dingle'.
The images are well observed and skilfully drawn' Pool, Dunloe Gap, Killarney', seems to shimmer. . . in the autumn sunlight. 'Those ripples on the water were made by an otter swimming across it. It was so quiet. The otter ignored me completely as I worked - a beautiful moment.'
There are no figures or creatures in her work. Thirty-eight drawings under the heading 'Sue Realist' are also on show. Each has a built-in stygian creative anger about inherent complexities that perception alone cannot solve or answer, and each is handled with a sensitivity that has recognisable reference from the female perspective. This show is a remarkable feat of inventiveness and linear dexterity. The artist allows us to see what is going on inside her head, describing a whole gamut of feelings that have an undercurrent of something we can't quite put our finger on. It is a brave thing to do. Harrow Observer Ken Govier

Poetry reviews and broadcasts

BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Shift
Winner of the Alternative Christmas Poem Competition with 'Post-Modern Christmas' - poem (broadcast on 5 consecutive days) they also broadcast her Perverb: 'Better to have loved and lost than never to have tasted chocolate'

Phil Jupitus Programme on GLR
'Habeas Porcus'

Poems on Buses
'Tribute to Lennon','Duchess's Revenge', 'The Suitor', were all 'Poems on the Buses'

Sue, Realist: a Selection of Poems & Drawings
Sue Whitemore (sic) offers a few wise old poems interspersed with thought-provoking sketches and traverses the expansive realm of culture, nature, psyche, spirit and society. This dynamic collection will excite Greerian purists with lines like 'I find you guilty pig/of being big/of being a beast' (Habeas Porcus), and equally quench the thirst of transcendent visionaries with 'Things of tomorrow are today's things becoming dust at the bottom (Handbag Haiku). Whitmore deals with everything from female complicity in male hubris to existential self-contempt. Though recurrent motifs from a natural landscape present an essential creative source, these are at times undercut by the presence of the deceptive mirror-image in preserving the illusion of a unified sense of self. The illustrations themselves attract as much attention as the poetry, surreal sketches that might even have got old Sigmund to have a rethink. Though Whitmore' s accessible and concise language makes collection an enjoyable read, the breadth of her theme does leave you wanting a more in-depth 'sue-realism'. (CITY LIMITS Anthony Ilona - July 1992)

Member 'Metrolands' Poets, Buckinghamshire 1998 to date
'The Brondesbury Group' of poets, 2002 to date

Recent exhibitions

"Behind the eyes of the sleepers . . . listen, you can hear their dreams" - Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood

Dreams distort the familiar, showing us other selves doing strange things in strange places and disturbing the indolence of the mind. Freud and Jung used them to access things kept veiled, feared, desired in the mind's internal life, private phenomena, space for an unfettered subconscious, something experienced alone.

Since her first exhibitions "Flat Earth" and "Personal Geology", and her book of poems and drawings of the 90's, 'Sue, Realist' Whitmore has frequently played with symbolic representations of feelings images that give "outward" form to inner states rather than pursuing the Surrealist manifesto.

As in "Speaking Volumes" (2001) at the Tricycle Gallery, this exhibition continues themes which are, to some extent, a creative response to psychoanalysis with its images of dreaming and poses of sleep and meditation. It connects her work from the figure with the world of the imagination that underpins life as an artist.

In 2007 her etching "Beeches, afternoon, Isle of Whithorn" will be on show in the Print Room at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Solo exhibitions

2006 "Light & Dark"
2005 "Dreamers"
2005 "Escapement"
2001 "Speaking Volumes"
1998 "Living with Trees"
1996 "Artist in Jamaica"
1993 "Recent Work" - Cumbria
1991 "Images of Ireland"
1992 "Sue, Realist"
1992 "Irish landscapes"
1988 "August in the Auvergne"
1985 "Scapes and Spaces"
1984 "Personal Geology"
1982 "Flat Earth"