Announcing Representation of Guy Maestri
20 Mar 2021
Yavuz Gallery is delighted to formally announce the representation of Australian-artist Guy Maestri.
In celebration, Maestri will present the exhibition short stories at Yavuz Gallery Sydney from 8 April to 1 May 2021. This will be his inaugural solo exhibition with the Gallery, as well as his first solo exhibition in his hometown in six years.
With a practice that spans over two decades, the Archibald-winning Australian painter and sculptor is renowned for his highly textural, expressive works that explore painted materiality, gesture and observation.
Often beginning his paintings en plein air, Maestri will rework his canvases, finally pushing them to completion within the walls of his industrial Marrickville studio. Working within a strong tradition of Australian landscape paintings, Maestri embraces painting in the bush in the open air. He has embarked on many journeys across the Australian mainland to paint its vast and varied landscape.
It is over the course of frequent visits to the regional New South Wales towns of Hill End, Mount Victoria and Mudgee that Maestri commenced the paintings in this new body of work short stories. The exhibition comprises eight individual large-scale paintings and one diptych; all depicting a different view of the landscape in a notably portrait format. While alluding to native and introduced flora that is distinctly Australian, the simple forms and emotive colours directly references children books.
Maestri’s new body of work is inspired by some of the mystical landscapes in the story books he reads to his son every night, some of which his mother read to him as a child. In the studio, the paintings depart from their en plein air beginnings to become imaginary, playful worlds that sway in and out of reality.
With this new body of work, Maestri departed from a more traditional earthy colour palette to embrace bold and strong non-naturalistic colours such as bright yellows, pinks and blues, some of them applied directly from the tube. By thick layering of flat blocks and patches of colour, the shapes are simplified to the point of abstraction. Maestri creates pictorial spaces that echo the two-dimensionality of the canvas.
Using an impasto technique, Maestri’s gestural painting practice leaves brush or painting-knife strokes visible. The movement and energy that transpire from his fierce painterly mark-making reveal lush, dynamic and lively landscapes.
Playing with abstraction and loose brushworks has allowed Maestri to inhabit a new realm where he wanders about in his paintings; a process that he describes as both “automatic and meditative”. It is, without a doubt, this newfound playfulness that has enabled him to move away from the reality of his subjects offering portals to surreal wonderlands.
Born in Mudgee, a country town of New South Wales, Guy Maestri (b. 1974, Australia) is known for his highly textural, expressive works that explore the painted materiality, gesture and observation. Although he is noted for his en plein air paintings and strong connection to the Australian landscape, Maestri also employs still-life and portraiture to investigate the conventions of painting. Maestri’s love affair with the Australian landscape has taken him across the mainland in search of new vistas to paint, covering areas including including the Tanami Desert, Northern Territory; Western Volcanic Plains, Victoria; Mutawintji National Park, New South Wales; Hill End, a former gold mining town in New South Wales. Recently, he has produced series’ of vibrantly coloured cast bronze bust sculptures that are deceptively rendered to look like plasticine.
In 2009, Maestri won the prestigious Archibald Prize, Australia’s major portraiture award. He has also been awarded the 2014 Kings School Art Prize (Australia) and the 2013 Premier’s Plein Air Painting Prize (Australia). He is a regular finalist in the Wynne Prize for Landscape at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Australia). His works are collected widely, including institutions such as National Portrait Gallery (Australia), Art Gallery of New South Wales (Australia), Art Gallery of South Australia, and Fubon Art Foundation (Taiwan).
Maestri is also represented by Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.
Image: Studio visit to Maestri’s studio space in Marrickville for Look Magazine, April-May issue. Art Gallery of New South Wales © AGNSW, Mim Stirling.