Prepare to be transported on a journey through the captivating world of portraiture!
Having called the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia her home for the last twenty years, Kathrin Longhurst’s roots are in former Soviet East Germany. Growing up in the Cold War era, her upbringing was heavily controlled by the regime. Devoid of outside influences and counter ideologies, it is her ability to paint such deeply compassionate portraits that embody the human spirit that is most impressive. With a profound understanding of the pain caused by oppression and displacement, it’s little wonder Longhurst’s paintings are so revered. Her star is seriously on the rise - having completed her 20th solo show in 2022.
She has been a finalist in numerous awards, including the Archibald Prize, the Sulman Prize, the Doug Moran Prize, the Portia Geach Award amongst others, and in 2021 she won the Packing Room Prize. She is part of six exhibitions internationally in 2023, including solo shows with Australian galleries M Contemporary in August, and Gallery One in November. Kathrin is also represented by Flinders Lane Gallery and has a show planned with them for International Women’s Day in 2024.
With all of those shows planned for this year and plenty more private commissions in the works, what is it about Longhurst’s work that people can’t get enough of? Having met Kathrin on multiple occasions, she is one of those people that leave you feeling empowered and inspired. As someone who fervently supports other women, she isn’t afraid of calling out unequal power structures and bringing light to biassed causes. Having grown up in a controlled and heavily oppressed environment, it’s no surprise that her art is a reflection of her ethos and her passionate commitment to make a difference in the world.
Her paintings, usually on a larger scale and with a refined palette, almost always include communist red and military green, and stylistically, chiaroscuro and appropriations on advertising and propaganda. Her heroines either stare out from the canvas, subverting the male gaze, or invite the viewer in, engaging them in her narratives. Longhurst's heroines embody the struggles of our time, urging us to stand together and fight for justice and equality. With a celebration of femininity and morality, they inspire us to rise up against prejudice and be the change we wish to see in the world.
Longhurst's art is a call to action, reminding us to choose compassion over conflict, love over greed, and life over loss. Her paintings inspire empathy and remind us that even in times of chaos, we can respond with compassion. Longhurst challenges us to reflect on what we hold dear and the ways in which we can work together to make a positive impact on the world.
In the hands of Kathrin Longhurst, art becomes a catalyst for social change, reflecting our collective struggles and aspirations. Her work is a testament to the power of creativity and empathy to heal and transform our world.