Richard Lewer’s work addresses a major event in New Zealand history: the infamous unsolved murder of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe in the Waikato town of Pukekawa in 1970.
Lewer represents elements from the murder case – a rifle, a cartridge, a floorplan of the victims’ house – on an unlikely material: green baize cloth from a pool table. But his choice is not arbitrary: the baize evokes pub culture of beer drinking, rabble-raising, and – potentially – lawless, unruly behaviour.
The simplicity of Lewer’s painting style stands in stark contrast to the work’s chilling underlying themes of death and murder.
This text was prepared for the Collecting Contemporary exhibition, June 2011.