Guy Maestri’s new work slings a tight rope across both aesthetic realms. And yet, for those looking closely his key themes and obsessive passions: ecology, human folly and the violated landscape are all still there, beating beneath a deceptively cool exterior. Departing radically from his well known marks, the febrile “painty paint” lines and scumbled surfaces of his gestural abstractions these works have an aquatic surface, submerged within veils of varnish, patina and memory. For those who come looking for the artist’s hand, they’ll find it, but in a different form. This show, described by Maestri as “a liberation from his own touch”, was sourced from hundreds of images found on Google, the search engine that has come to symbolize all we know about visual and cultural saturation. And in that spirit the work struts a topical dance, magnifying the main icons of man, myth and beast out of the anti-profound congestion of a stamp sized j-peg…
Guy Maestri interview
In association with The Archibald Prize: A brief interview with the winner of the 2009 Archibald Prize, Guy Maestri, accompanied by the music of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.
Guy Maestri is one of Australia’s most championed artists and this year was the winner of one of the most prestigious art accolades in Australia, the Archibald Prize. Maestri is known for his unique paintings which employ subliminal renderings of motifs found in nature. Throughout his career the artist has displayed a laboured, genuine affection for the natural world and its ecosystems. His works have a language and symbolism of their own, sometimes resulting in a surreal, dreamlike composition. Rather than present a direct observation of say a leaf or a bird, Maestri allows the imagery to emerge and disappear, capturing the memory or feeling of the thing, rather than a specific version. The results are intuitive and show a playful experimental with line and form…
2009 Archibald Prize winner