Elizabeth Barsham is a major Australian painter.

Elizabeth Barsham is the Tasmanian Gothic artist. Sometimes mistaken as a Surrealist , her luscious brushed oil surfaces morph between land and sea, human to plant and past to present.

The Gothic explores the past coming to haunt the present and it’s possible to interpret her melting forms as the stuff of dreams but to those who know the culture and history of Tasmania the ascerbic painted criticism of today as the mutant offspring of yesterday is clear.

In the thick jungle of the wild woods of a Barsham painting are noxious weeds (but oh so pretty), strange fruit and abandoned farms. There are dryads, Classical ruins, judgemental poultry, wide eyed marsupials and clueless bushwalkers linked to Google Earth. There are nods to popular culture, Hieronymus Bosch, illustration and climate change.

Her exhibition of 2021 exhibition Understory turned a critical eye to the myths surrounding the European settlement of Tasmania. Powerful images of the blue eyed blonde child with her broken black baby doll and Governor Arthur on an Arcadian tapestry while a River Styx of indigenous souls pours past are two unforgettable motifs in an uncomfortable show.

Elizabeth Barsham is a great Australian painter who interprets society with dark humour using remarkable technique. Those who own a piece of her work are lucky indeed.