Nature’s Abstract Exhibition

The ‘Nature’s Abstract’ exhibition, a collaboration between painter Susan Nethercote and photographer Alison Shirley, will take place at Backspace Gallery, Huyghue House, 15 Camp St. Alfred Deakin Place, Ballarat. It commences on 25th May and closes 11th June 2017.

Susan, a painter who often works with photograph’s of nature, is hugely inspired by the macro photography of Alison and her unique ability to capture nature in such close-up detail that the actual subject of the photograph is obscured and naturally abstracted. She is also very drawn to the atmospheric qualities of Alison’s work.

Thus, for this exhibition, Susan has created numerous paintings that directly respond to Alison’s photographs and also other’s that are more loosely inspired.  Among these are an extensive group of works on paper (the first group seen in the gallery below) and also a series of bright red ‘Gumnut Blossom’ canvases. She captures the dreamlike quality of Alison’s photograph’s in the ‘Dreaming’ Series in pinks and golds.  The painting ‘As Above, So Below’ is the largest of the canvases that directly respond to one of Alison’s photograph’s, also exhibited.

Susan is also exhibiting her ‘Light and Shadow Series’, another example of how light naturally abstracts the way in which nature is seen.  Many of these explore sun-bleached botanical subjects and the effects of dappled light.

Also seen are Susan’s ‘Pink’ botanical miniatures on canvas along with a number of botanical studies on abstracted backgrounds on cotton rag.

Also included are Susan’s large botanical abstracts ‘Native Glory’ I and II, which illustrate her distinctive approach to capturing the structural quality of Australian Native plants and flowers.   These explore her own unique response to the colours and shapes found in nature, which are also seen her often very bright and increasingly popular Botanical Abstract paintings.

All work listed here will be available for pre-sale from 25th May. Please do not hesitate to get in touch at  if you have any questions or would like to purchase a piece.


The following video captures Alison Shirley and Susan Nethercote talking about the inspiration behind their collaborative exhibition ‘Nature’s Abstract’.  If you are having an issue with sound, please choose another browser such as Chrome or Firefox.

For more about the opening celebration, including photos, please pop over to the latest post on the Journal.


The following time-lapse video gives a quick tour of the exhibition ‘Nature’s Abstract’ which showed at Backspace Gallery in Ballarat in May-June 2017.


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