Tom Kreisler

A Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Touring Exhibition

Curated by Aaron Kreisler

10 November - 15 December 2007

Artspace is pleased to present the exhibition Tom Kreisler, the first major survey of this overlooked New Zealand artist’s work in two decades. The exhibition presents a major body of paintings giving a great insight into the work of Tom Kreisler (1938-2002).

This is a streamlined version of the Tom Kreisler exhibition that appeared at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery earlier this year (3 March – 13 May 2007), developed for a nationwide tour by its curator Aaron Kreisler.

Kreisler says “It is significant that Artspace is the first venue for this national tour because it provides a new and distinct platform for Tom’s work to be discussed and critiqued within. It also continues the momentum that has been one of the defining aspects of this project, from comma dot dogma to the public/art communities response to the show. It is fantastic to see.” Adding that “Tom was preoccupied by big themes in his work, from love to death, suffering to exaltation. He also had a tremendous, often pointed, sense of humour that I’m sure Auckland audiences will appreciate.”

Tom Kreisler was born Argentina in 1938 and died in New Plymouth in 2002 aged 63. At 13 he was sent to New Zealand to live with his Uncle and Aunt in Christchurch. What was originally intended to be a brief remedial stint in this country ended up being a sustained fifty-year relocation.

In the mid-sixties Kreisler attended Canterbury Art School (Ilam) excelling in the painting department under the guardianship of Rudi Gopas and Bill Sutton. By ‘68 he was attracted to a teaching position at New Plymouth Boys High School in part because of what he heard about the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery development.

New Plymouth remained his base for most of his life, but a trip to Mexico to see his ailing mother in the late seventies shifted to a sustained visitation that lasted a couple of years. On the return to New Zealand he produced a new body of painting, which merged the impressions from this new context with political and social issues emerging in this part of the world. This work formed the backbone of Kreisler’s first major survey exhibition Not a Dog Show at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Wellington City Gallery in the mid-to-late eighties.

In the latter part of his life Kreisler spent increasing amounts of his energies and time dedicated to the production of his art. This included a residency opportunity in Waikato that became the catalyst for the critically acclaimed exhibition Tom Kreisler: Private and Confidential that toured between Hamilton, New Plymouth and Auckland (2000-2001).

The exhibition Tom Kreisler is the first major survey of this artist’s work in twenty years. It is an opportunity for all viewers to see Tom Kreisler’s painting in a fresh light.

The publication comma dot dogma with texts by Deborah Cain, Wystan Curnow, John Hurrell, John Maynard, Cheryll Sotheran and Aaron Kreisler and the online database,, offer further reading on the artist.

See availble editions by this artist 



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