- Media category
- Materials used
- oil on linen
- 198.0 x 244.0 x 3.0 cm
- Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales to celebrate 150 years of the Art Gallery of New South Wales 2020
- Not on display
- Accession number
- © Guy Maestri
- Wynne Prize
- - 2020
- Artist information
Works in the collection
'There is an immense old sheep station in Wilcannia (north-western NSW) where I go to paint from time to time. In the homestead’s front-yard is a grand old cactus garden. All attempts at its upkeep were abandoned years ago and it is being reclaimed by its harsh surrounding landscape. It is somehow unsettling and represents an extraordinarily slow dance between man and nature. It gives me a sense of the persistent march of time, of our often-futile attempts at controlling our environment. It also inspired this painting – the first I have ever made from memory.' Guy Maestri, 2020
Guy Maestri’s works have a strong focus on landscape, and have featured locations in New South Wales such as the Southern Highlands, Hill End and arid landscapes of the far west. His practice is firmly grounded in plein air painting and drawing as well as studio work, informed by an ecological sensitivity and a strong feeling for the formal qualities of his various mediums. Maestri's bold colour choices and impasto application of paint reflect a confidence and facility borne of years of painting the landscape outdoors.
The subject of this painting is an derelict cactus garden in north-western NSW, overgown into a tangle of introduced and native plants. The struggle of this cultivated garden against the realities of its remote and harsh location is a reflection of broader incompatibities in land use by Western agriculture in marginal and drought-prone regions, where the desire to shape and control the land are challenged by the realities of soil, climate and culture.
Maestri’s familiarity with this landscape was such that he was able to take his memories of it into the studio where he created this energetic and vibrantly coloured abstraction that vibrates and jostles with joyful energy. The rain song was selected as a finalist in the Wynne Prize in 2020.
Shown in 1 exhibition
Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes (2020), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 2020–10 Jan 2021