As a former KAOS Dictator I was somewhat intrigued to find a KAOS sleeper cell in the remote and serene sea side village of Riverton. Melbourne Artist Sue Hartley assures me however that the name sake of her art gallery has little to do with the Canterbury University alumni famous for its water pistol assassinations and rocky Horror Picture Show themed parties. Rather it comes from a soft spot Sue has for the 1960 styled sitcom based on Max Well Smart and his side kick agent 99. That withstanding a KAOS styled surrealism pervades her work which is reminiscent of the pistol packing painter Salvadore Dali so the confusion can be forgiven.
To be more precise Sue work is like an infusion of Dali work blended with the quirkyness of Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig. Like Leunig work, the classically trained, Sue style is marked by deliberate hand work which create long flowing fine fluid lines which hypnotize and draw the viewers in-turn into the 3D depth that her art projects. Predominantly Sue works in oil which has allowed her to capture her interpretation of the rich Australia landscape and now her new home in Southland (as co-owner of the La Riveria B&B located above her studio) as she goes about capturing the spirit of earth water and skies on canvass. What Sue calls her “poetic dreams” Sue also use an illustrator pen (being also an accomplished children’s book illustrator) for her smaller works a series of post cards and miniature painting and these have distinct feminine ethereal quality that is strictly Agent 99 and not 86 one might even be tempted to say a style that is controlled.– “Oh Max”.