During the Cold War, the Soviet Bloc and the West were separated in various ways but probably none so dramatically as the Berlin Wall. Erected in 1961, it separated East and West Germans for 28 years.
Kathrin Longhurst was born on the eastern side of that wall and experienced, first-hand, what life was like behind the Iron Curtain. It was a life that would influence the direction of her work as an artist many years later.
A figurative painter and a feminist, her work often parodies the Communist propaganda art which she would see in the streets in East Berlin – but instead of images of triumphant soldiers and workers, she would depict strong, defiant women using military imagery and female sexuality to brilliant effect.
She also paints larger-than-life head and shoulder paintings – from the intense portrayals of children going through tough times in her Forging of a Human Spirit series to her current incredible work focussing on female refugees which were lining the walls of her studio when I met her.
Kathrin moved to Australia almost 20 years ago after meeting her Australian husband and became a full time artist in the early 2000s after a career in the corporate world.
She has exhibited in over 15 solo shows, has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize, Portia Geach Memorial Award, the Doug Moran National Portrait prize and many other prizes and her work is held in major collections in Australia and overseas.
To hear the podcast interview press ‘play’ beneath the above feature photo. You can also see a short video of Kathrin Longhurst below and on the Talking with Painters YouTube channel .
Above feature Photo by Bernie Meyers @breeze.pics
- ‘Painting the Figure Now’ – Zhou B Art Centre, Chicago, current to November 13, 2019
- 30th Anniversary Curated Group Exhibition 30 x 30, Flinders Lane Gallery Melbourne, 3 – 21 December 2019
- Creator and Muse Group Exhibition Zhou B Art Centre Chicago, May 2020
- Solo Exhibition Flinders Lane Gallery Melbourne, July 2020
- ‘Woman’, group exhibition, James Baird Gallery Canada, October 2020