5 JULY - 6 AUGUST 2017

The Nancy Sever Gallery is pleased to present Elisabeth Kruger | The Sea Paintings, an exhibition of recent works.

Elisabeth Kruger was born in New Caledonia and currently lives in Canberra. She is a graduate of the Australian National University School of Art. In 1989 she was awarded the Moët et Chandon Fellowship and in the following year she took up an Arts Council residency at Besozzo, Italy. Since then she has gained a reputation as one of Australia’s leading artists.

As Dr. Jenny McFarlane has written of her work, Elisabeth Kruger is a master painter whose attention to detail and technical skill in creating highly realistic paintings immediately capture our imagination and admiration. Her work engages the viewer, while the perfectionism of detail and her self-imposed painterly discipline are rigorous and exacting.

Elizabeth Kruger is a master of working with oil paints, in particular with glazes of thin paint that are applied to create the rich glowing effects in the paintings. Ironically, she uses a painterly genre that is steadily disappearing to offer us a glimpse of nature that is also steadily disappearing due to global warming.

Her work is based upon a universal aesthetic that reaches across place and spiritual culture. The paintings in this exhibition emerged from a period of personal loss that has echoes in a longstanding concern for the environment. Sea level rise is also the subject of much anxiety and waves crashing against the coastline, as depicted in this series, will doubtless find resonance with the anxiety many feel about climate change.

Elisabeth Kruger | The Sea Paintings opens at the Nancy Sever Gallery on Wednesday 5 July 2017.  For further information please contact Nancy Sever at nancy.sever@iinet.com.au or Tel 02 6239 5434.  The Gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday 11 am – 6 pm.


There is the sea of sandy summer days melting beneath cotton wool clouds. There is the ferrying sea of deep else wheres and dangerous fabled monsters.

There is too the ceaselessly tumbling sea, churning and surging at its craggy hems. This that tides itself in lacey, foam rimmed sand for each beginning.

And the perilous sea that begins with a small 'c'

And ends with a dark mute missingness.

Elisabeth Kruger

Our Cambrian coast

In this body of work Elisabeth Kruger tears us from the garden of riotous blooms, fresh greens and pink blushes to a world of greys.

Grief crashes against rocks, the tide of life is sucked out, a hollowness pulls vertiginously at our gut. The plenitude of the garden is washed out with the tide and an immense aching vacuum is left on the strand. Then Grief crashes again, against the Cambrian coastline. We observe the brutal violence of inarticulate grief batter against the rocks that will manifest the marks of this violence only over millennia. Feeling and numbness, violence and immovability, the roiling, murmuring deep collides with the choppy outgoing tide. Kruger shows us a liminal space between the pugnacity and powerlessness of the experience of loss. Mute desolation and voiced despair are played out in paint. As the spray flies up and is frozen in paint, figuration meets abstraction within a framework of compositional elegance, complexity is held in effortless balance and with the flick of her brush Kruger has us catch our breath in shared pain.

Alain de Botton reminds us that sorrow is written into the very contract of life and that one of the more important things that art can do for us is to teach us how to suffer ‘more successfully’. Far from being alone in our all-consuming experience of loss, out of her generosity Kruger reminds us that we must all come to share in this central and universal feature of life.[1]  Our imaginary museum is dense with paintings of personal scarification but rarely is the ubiquitous experience of shattering loss captured with such power.

As the sea crashes against the coast Kruger has made the personal political and enabled a more global conversation about grief and the rising tide. In delegating to our South Coast the role of ‘talking cure’ she has enabled a conversation on Grief, on Sorrow, on Painting.

Dr. Jennifer McFarlane

June 2017


[1] De Botton, Alain. & Armstrong, John.  (2016).  Art as therapy.  London :  Phaidon Press Limited p. 24

Artworks included in the exhibition:

(for details of the works, please click and hold cursor over the image)

Elisabeth Kruger

Biographical details

Solo exhibitions

2013 New Paintings, Eva Breuer Art Dealer , Sydney

2010 On Beauty, Drill Hall Gallery, ANU Canberra

2008 fifteen , Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney

2005 New Paintings, Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney

2004 New Paintings, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

2004 New Paintings, Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney

2002 Nine New Paintings, Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney

2001 Pink, Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney

1999 Asleep in the Garden, Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney

1995 Elisabeth Kruger, Deutscher Fine Art , Melbourne

1992 Elisabeth Kruger , Deutscher Fine Art, Melbourne

1990 Elisabeth Kruger, Hautvillers, Champagne, France

1989 Prints and Quilts, Wollongong City Gallery, NSW

1988 What wond’rous life, Giles Street Gallery, ACT

1979 Quilts, Crafts Council of Australia Gallery, Sydney

1!978 Quilts and Quilted Clothing, Crafts Council of ACT, Canberra

Selected Group Exhibitions

2015 Christmas Show, Olsen Irwin, Sydney

2014 Group Show-Alan Jones,Elisabeth Kruger, Gary Heery, Julian Meagher and Zhong Chen

         OlsenIrwin, Sydney

2014 In Bloom, Gippsland Art Gallery Vic

2013 A Canberra Odyssey, CMAG Canberra

2011 Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of NSW

2010 Slow Burn, S H Ervin Gallery, Sydney

2009 Botanica, Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney

2008 Melbourne Art Fair, Karen Woodbury Gallery

         Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney

2007 Snap Freeze, TarraWarra Museum of Art

2006 a rose is a rose is a rose, Latrobe Regional Gallery

2004 CLOUDED OVER. Representations of Clouds in Art, Lawrence Wilson

         Art Gallery, University of Western Australia

1999 Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales

1999 Salon des Refuses, S.H. Ervin Gallery, NSW

1998 The Australian Drawing Biennale, Drill Hall Gallery, ANU, Canberra

1997 Mulch and Metaphors, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, VIC

1997 Portia Geach, S. H. Ervin Gallery, NSW

1997 Salon des Refuses, S. H. Ervin Gallery, NSW

1996-97 Threads, Wesfarmers Collection, University of NSW

1995 Strate’gens, Canberra School of Art Gallery, ACT A Changing Landscape, The Nolan Gallery, ACT In the Company of Women, PICA, WA

1991 Contemporary Landscapes, Deakin University Gallery, VIC

1990 Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia

         Recent Acquisitions, National Gallery of Victoria

         L’ete Australien, Musee Fabre, Montpellier, France

         SMH Australian Heritage Art Awards, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney

1989 Moet et Chandon Touring Exhibitions, State and National Galleries

         Canberra Contemporary Artspace, ACT

1988 Made in Canberra, Canberra Contemporary Artspace, ACT

1987 Twelve Canberra Printmakers, Giles Street Gallery, ACT

         Salon Coda, Bitumen River Gallery, ACT


ACT Government

ACT Legislative Assembly

ANZ Bank Collection


Australian National University,

Deakin University, VIC

Macquarie University

Moet et Chandon, Epernay, France

National Gallery of Australia

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Newcastle Region Gallery

Parliament of Australia Art Collection

The Powerhouse Museum, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

RACV Art Collection

University of Canberra

University of Tasmania

Westfarmers Collection

Private Collections


1990  VAB, Australia Council, Overseas Studio, Besozzo, Italy

1989  Moet et Chandon, Australian Art Fellowship

1980 Crafts Council of Australia, Craftsman in Residence, Sturt Workshops, Mittagong


1995  International Cultural Exchange, Shirakawa, Japan

1993  Raheen, Historic Victorian Mansion


Maxwell, Helen : 'Elisabeth Kruger :On Beauty' Artlink, Vol 30#4,p.90

Grishin, Sasha: 'Symbolic Narratives' The Canberra Times,October 13, 2010

Wong, Vivian: "Life Within Life," brink Artwrite, volume 17, 1999

Grishin, Sasha: "Conjuring a different reality," The Canberra Times, April 5, 1999

Genocchio, Benjamin: "Award changes, but keeps its fizz," The Australian, March 26, 1999

Lancashire, Rebecca: "Renaissance women swaps pins for paint," The Age, 22nd April 1992

Heathcote, Christopher Creative risks reap rewards, The Age, 22nd April 1992

Kleinert, Sylvia, Canberra Report, Art and Australia, Autumn Issue 1989, volume 26 Number 3

Heathcote, Christopher: "Orr, Hearman and Kruger," Art Monthly June/July 1989

Koop, Stuart, Moet et Chandon Fellowship Tension / Australian & International Art, May 1989


On Beauty Elisabeth Kruger Spring 2010, Survey Exhibition Catalogue, ANU, Canberra

201 fifteen, Exhibition catalogue Martin Browne Fine Art

The Australian Drawing Biennale, catalogue, ANU, Canberra, 1998

A Changing Landscape, The Nolan Gallery, ACT, 1995

In the Company of Women, 100 Years of Australian Women's Art From the Cruthers' Collection, PICA, WA, 1995

In a Different Light: Australian Artists Working in Italy

University of Queensland Press, 1991

Moet et Chandon Touring Exhibition, catalogue, Moet et Chandon Australian Art Foundation, 1989