Coco Elder
Coco Elder

Upcoming Exhibition at Art2Muse Gallery 17 – 30 September 2024



Coco Elder is an Australian artist specialising in painting and ceramics. Her early childhood experiences of weekends spent with her family in the Blue Mountains, making miniature gardens & collecting clay from the side of the road to make pots fired in the open fire, put her in touch with mother earth and helped her to resonate and connect with nature. Elder’s experience of studying Landscape Architecture sparked her interest in botany & geology and opened her perception to the delicacy of various microclimates and how this affects the lie of the land.

Following her degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Painting and Ceramics, a visit to Cezanne’s studio and Mont Sainte-Victoire in Provence, influenced the way she was able to make sense of the Australian bush.

“I began to see the triangular forms in nature that Cezanne spoke of… created by forms of foliage, branches and even spurs, gullies and ridges. The interlude between shadows and light creates a visual pattern that enable me to make sense of what might appear to be wild & unruly within nature.”

Alongside her Visual Arts high school teaching qualifications, Coco has also been a Lecturer at the College of Fine Arts (COFA) at UNSW. She now resides in Raleigh, in the Bellingen Shire where she works from her studio at home and takes her inspiration from the creeks and landscapes from Gumbaynggirr Country’s Bellinger Valley and surrounds.

Coco has been a finalist in numerous awards including the Mosman Art Prize, The Environmental Art and Design Prize, the Warringah Art Prize and Paddington Art Prize.


Artist Statement

Coco Elder’s love of the Australian bush and reverence for nature inspires her practice. Having lived near Ku-Ring-Gai National Park, and more recently within the Bellingen Shire, the Guringai and Gumbaynggirr country have been a source of subject matter that aspires to her senses.

Elder’s awareness of landscape architecture, botany, and geology, informs the process of how she transcribes the spirit of place and invites audiences on a seductive journey through the microcosmic and macrocosmic beauty of nature. Patterns within forms, and forms, forming patterns, create a lively dance where organic expression and geometry collude in synchronicity. Her eclectic process of carving into the oil paint using various etching tools not only allows her to bridge drawing with painting but to align playful gestural marks with observed and considered representations. The carving process pulls the paint away and reveals light, either from the white of the primed surface or the actual timber.

“By carving back through the surface, I’m able to create another layer, one that is a more playful expression that resonates the essence and life force of form and place.

I hope to lead my audience on a journey and have them reflect on the grandeur of our natural landscape. One that is to be revered and protected.” – Coco Elder

Coco Elder painting plein air and in the studio.


The Never Never

This exhibition has been predominantly inspired by landscapes in my surrounding hometown of Gumbaynggirr country, of whose Indigenous people, past, present and emerging, I have great respect.

The soil is rich here, the trees are monumental, and the microclimate allows for a diversity of species that tolerate the extremities of hot Summers and cold Winters. The enticing beauty of this place is enchanting. It is my aim to capture a little bit of this magic.

The process is one of building up blocks of colour in oil paint that tethers between geometrical forms and patterns in nature, to observations truer to the eye. Various tools are used to carve into the surface creating movement and gestural marks. In doing so, I’m drawing into the paint, creating another layer – one that is more textured. The carving process pulls the paint away and reveals light, either from the white of the primed surface or the actual timber. The combination of texture, colour and light assist in transcribing the atmosphere and spirit of place.

It is my hope that this land is protected, honoured and walked upon lightly, as our Aboriginal people have done.



1999 Bachelor of Art Education (B.A.Ed) – UNSW College of Fine Arts
1991 Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) – UNSW College of Fine Arts
1988 Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (B.L.A.) – UNSW


2023 Solo Exhibition The Never Never at Art2Muse Gallery, Woollahra, Sydney
2023 Summer Group Exhibition – Nexus Gallery, Bellingen
2023 Bellingen Shire Themed Member’s Exhibition – Nexus Gallery- Bellingen
2023 Summer Group Exhibition – Dorrigo Rainforest Exhibition Centre – Dorrigo Mountain
2022 Travelling exhibition, The Promised Land, HYDE, Bellingen
2022 The Promised Land, Solo, Rochfort Gallery, North Sydney
2022 River Stone & Life Still, Solo, State of Embrace, Bellingen
2022 Tree-O Gallery, Group Exhibition, Raleigh
2022 Forest Songs, Group Exhibition, Dorrigo Rainforest Exhibition Centre, Dorrigo Mountain
2021 Avalon Beach Centenary Art Exhibition, Avalon Art Gallery
2020 Landline, Group Exhibition, Rochfort Gallery, North Sydney
2020 I Am A Woman, Group Exhibition, Be Brave Art Space, Avalon
2020 Collector’s Edition #5, Blue Mountain’s Cultural Centre, Katoomba
2019 Dolci Collection 14 Group Exhibition, Rochfort Gallery, North Sydney
2019 Collection Ten, Rochfort Gallery, North Sydney
2019 Collector’s Edition #5, Blue Mountain’s Cultural Centre, Katoomba
2018 Cracker: Colours of Australia, Group Exhibition, Rochfort Gallery, North Sydney
2018 Collector’s Edition #5, Blue Mountain’s Cultural Centre, Katoomba
2018-2015 Pittwater Artist’s Trail Open Studio and Group Exhibitions
2018 SCEGGS Old Girls’ Art Exhibition, SCEGGS Darlinghurst
2014 Gesture, Group Exhibition, Coorah Contemporary Art Gallery, Blue Mountains
2014 Manly Arts Festival, Northern Beaches Open Studio
2014 Forest Community Arts Centre, Group Exhibition, Frenches Forest
2013 Charles Hewitt Gallery, Group Exhibition, Darlinghurst
2012 Ku-ring-gai La Nina, Charles Hewitt Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Darlinghurst
2007 F.E.E.L., Mary Place Gallery, Group Exhibition, Paddington
2005 Soda Gallery, Group Exhibition, Darlinghurst
1999 Palm Beach Art Gallery, Group Exhibition, Palm Beach
1999 Sydney Royal Agricultural Easter Show
1997 Sydney Royal Agricultural Easter Show
1998 Ebb & Flow Gallery, Palm Beach
1997 Ewart Gallery, Group Exhibition, Willoughby
1997 Singleton Civic Centre, Singleton
1997 Muswellbrook Gallery, Muswellbrook
1997 Oberon R.S,L., Oberon
1996 Dickerson Gallery, Group Exhibition, Woollahra
1996 Art In Action ’96, Art Expo, Sydney Showground
1995 Centre Art Space, Sydney
1995 Ewart Gallery, Group Exhibition, Willoughby
1995 Robyn Gale Exhibition Space, Group Exhibition, Newport
1994 Robyn Gale Exhibition Space, Group Exhibition, Newport
1993 Mosman Civic Centre
1992 Arthaus Gallery, Group Exhibition- Sydney

A.W.Faber-Castell Pty Ltd
SOS Printing Co. Pty Ltd

Elder’s works are held in private collections around Australia, Sweden, and the Vice Consulate General of the Republic of Turkey.

Awards, Grants, Commissions

2023 Finalist National Emerging Artist Prize
2022 Waverley Woollahra Art School – Finalist 9×5 Exhibition
2021 Hornsby Hospital Commission
2021 Environmental Art and Design Prize – Northern Beaches
2020 Lethbridge Landscape Prize – Finalist
2018 Waverley Woollahra Art School – Finalist 9×5 Exhibition
2017 Chippendale World Art Residency – Finalist, Kensington Contemporary
2015 Warringah Art Prize Finalist
2011 Paddington Art Prize Finalist
2000 Sydney Royal Agricultural Easter Show – Prize Winner
1997 Sydney Royal Agricultural Easter Show – Prize Winner
1993 Mosman Art Prize Finalist
1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997 – SOS Printing Co. Pty Ltd – Commissions

The Bellingen Newspaper, “An Alluring Body of Artwork,” February, 2022
CoffsCoast Newspaper, “Spiritually Inspired- Tree-o Art Exhibition,” 18 March 2022, p.19
The Harbour News, Artist’s Showcase, March 2022
Manly Daily, “Coco Blazes A Rare Trail: Engraving Meets Oil Painting,” 5 June 2018
Pittwater Life, March 2015, p.28: “Great Trail Mix”
The Manly Daily, Friday June 5th, 2015, p.18: “Coco Blazes a Rare Trail”
The Sydney Morning Herald: “Down the Rabbit Hole”
The Manly Daily, Saturday April 16th 1994 p.18: “Bringing Art to the Public”
The Manly Daily, Wednesday April 27th 1994 p.4: “Thanks for Everything”
Northern Beaches Weekender, Friday April 29th 1994 p.5 “Artists Thanked”
The Manly Daily, Saturday May 29th 1995 p.4: “Naughty & Nice”
Thorpe in Assoc. with NAVA 2nd Ed. (1995), “Who’s Who of Australian Visual Artists”