Thirty Six Views of Castle Hill

Yesterday I went along to Perc Tucker’s exhibition opening of Sue Smith’s 36 Views of Castle Hill. In some ways it felt like I was jumping back into the saddle again, back into the world of art, and in Australia none the less. Rather selfishly on my part it seemed like an extremely fitting exhibition reflecting Townville and opening my eyes to see Townsville in a different light. It felt exciting to be part of the crowd, with a glass of wine and listening to Sue Smith explain her paintings. As a visitor to Townsville, not a resident, I didn’t share what many there did, concerning their memories and their knowledge behind the history of the city. But I saw my own journey in the short month I’ve been here, I recognised the places I’ve been and the humour Sue was portraying in her somewhat surreal paintings. Sue revealed to us that this surreal style was indeed referencing Japanese painter Hokusai, her obvious homage to his 36 Views of Mount Fuji. An obvious influence to her series of paintings, although alike in its ideas, Sue Smith personalises her 36 views with the symbol of Castle Hill at the heart of her collection. Castle Hill is at the centre of Townsville, an ever looming figure on the city. Smith narrates the presence of the hill in each scene she paints, whether it be the central image or only just visible through the handle bars of a young girl’s bike, the hill dominates the attention of the viewer. As we search out the hill in each painting we get the sense that Smith is encouraging us to reflect upon our own lives surrounding the hill. Our ever changing lives in flux as the hill remains a constant in the backdrop of our lives.