Petra Kleinherne occupies the realm between abstract figuration and abstract expressionism. While the emotive language of colour is evident, the creation of landscapes and scenes is also key: evoking fragments of ideas, flickers of thought or distant memories. These gestures are transcribed onto canvas in a type of shorthand.

There is no preconceived outcome in mind, rather the finished painting is the result of an ongoing and intuitive dialogue between artist and canvas which revels in the unpredictable; experiments in the serendipity of unbridled creativity. Using a process-driven approach, the movement of the brush, different brushes, a squeegee, a sponge, rags or a palette knife conspire to reveal surprising marks, formations, lines, scribbles and dots. Shapes and forms are spontaneous depending on how the brush flows; how thick paint, thin paint, colour and form interact.

The confluence of various places and experiences are unconsciously reflected in the work: a building may appear; a figure; a fence; a walkway. The balanced, yet dynamic compositions similarly draw on a variety of artistic influences: the abstraction of form of German Expressionism; the spontaneity of gesture and lack of preconceived ideas of Art Informel; the vivid colours of Neo Expressionism.

Just as the process is inspired by the unexpected interaction of colour and form and the alchemy of oil paint, a rich patchwork of experiences, ideas, influences and approaches coalesce to offer a new and unique perspective.

Petra Kleinherne

Petra Kleinherne came to Australia from Germany in 1981 and lives and works in Melbourne. She studied painting privately, then Visual Arts at Victoria University and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Painting from Monash University. Petra has shown in solo and group shows in Australia and Europe and will take up residency with Art Circle Residence in Germany and Croatia in April 2019. Her works are held in private collections in Australia, Germany and France.


2010 BFA Painting, Monash University, Melbourne
2006 Visual Arts – Painting & Drawing, Victoria University, Melbourne
1998 International Summer Academy for Visual Arts Salzburg, Austria

Solo Exhibitions

2017 Maze, Chapman & Bailey, Melbourne
2014/15 Crowded Space, Goethe-Institut, Melbourne
2013 Imagined Landscapes / Lost Figures, Chapman & Bailey, Melbourne
2010 Work in Progress, Monash University, Caulfield, Melbourne

Selected Group Exhibitions

2019 HER-stories at Chapman & Bailey Abbotsford, Melbourne
2018 ‘Fifty Shades of Red’ German Embassy, Canberra
The Artists Guild, Docklands, Melbourne
Abstract Lands, Birds Gallery, Melbourne
2016 VU Connect 16, MetroWest, Footscray, Melbourne
2014 Linden Postcard Show, St Kilda, Melbourne
2013 xVU@D11, D11 Artist run space at Docklands, Melbourne
2012 Winner of Victoria University Arts Prize
2010 Monash University Graduate Show, Melbourne
2008 ’30 x 30 x 30 cm’, Faculty Gallery, Monash University, Melbourne
2006 Victoria University Graduate exhibition, Melbourne
2005 Victoria University Art Prize at Fitzroy Gallery, Melbourne
1998 Summer Academy of Visual Arts, Salzburg, Austria final exhibition


Apr 2019 Art Circle Residence 2019 at Battenberg, Germany and Vizinada, Croatia
Sep 2018 Art Circle Residence 2018 at Lerida Winery, Canberra
May 2017 Residency at Château Orquevaux, Orquevaux, France