Born in Surrey, England, Archer studied at the Sutton School of Art 1962-64, before moving to Australia in 1965. She has travelled widely throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the USA including residencies at the Greene Street Studio in New York and the Power Studio at Cite Internationale in Paris.
Archer has an extensive exhibiting history with more than 30 solo exhibitions and over 90 group exhibitions. She has received various awards including the Dobell Prize for Drawing in 2010 and the Wynne Prize in 1994. She has also won the Fishers Ghost Award in 1997 and 1998, and a fellowship from the Visual Arts/Craft Board, 1993.
Suzanne Archer's acclaimed work has been widely reviewed by respected arts writers including Elwyn Lynn, Christopher Allen, James Gleeson and Sasha Grishin. Her work is widely represented in the major art galleries, notably the Australian National Gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of NSW, as well as in regional galleries across the country, university collections, Artbank and significant private collections. Archer's paintings, sculptures and prints question our very existence and its meaning and engage the viewer in a profound dialogue.
In my recent work I use objects familiar to me (often sculptures that I have constructed) and present them in various materials. My intension is to shift my focus beyond the obvious subject matter by combining its appearance with the psychological and emotional, in order to present a personal and extreme view of my self-portrait. I am interested in creating works that intuitively explore the intangible relationship of life, aging and inevitably death and consequently the works are often regarded as being on the dark side. I would consider that my work is conceptually based although I engage thoroughly with my chosen mediums creating solid art-objects in order to express my ideas.
My latest works concern my self often paired with other peculiar forms that might inspire either a questioning or recognition in the viewer. It has always been my practise to work in various disciplines working often in painting, sculpture and drawing in tandem, each feeding the other with one of them often taking priority.
When in the act of painting I am only concerned with the business of making the work and my relationship with the process at the time. I am not consciously focussed on the eventual audience (this comes later when preparing an exhibition); then above all I hope that the audience will react to my work, to be curious about it, enquiring of it and to consider a dialogue with the strange imagery as well as observe my intense engagement with my materials.