“I approach the Australian Bush at face value, and from inside it. There’s no hidden meaning to my work. It is the Australian Bush.”
This is how Andrew Pye surmised much of his landscape art in recent years. But as 2020 was ushered in, Pye was painting with usual prolific energy “rain, hail or shine” through a bushfire affected North East Victorian summer of “bloody hot ‘n’ hazy” proportions. We have seen from this the first pictures of his interesting and provocative portraiture approach, including several public figures sitting for the experience.
In the realm of tree-dense landscapes, for which he has become well known on the Australian art scene, we see works showing vast expression were being created over the summer of 2020 in large new sizes.
The level of abstraction to the works was now on a more obvious spectrum, after his knockout work Welcome to the You Yangs was introduced the year earlier, opening the floodgates to a whole new genre of pictures and their collectors for Pye.
But away from the public, Pye has set up studio in Wangaratta, where he (along with his wife and four children) live “in oasis”.
Writing bush poetry daily, painting and sculpting, Pye has found time to somehow complete a teaching and pedagogy Masters degree with a focus on Indigenous broad histories and culture. Through his reading and academic study, and his interest in theology, Pye (of Russian Orthodox faith) now reveals new layers of meaning behind his work that for many years were omitted in his artist statements.
The trees are imbibed anew and a discussion about society, Indigeneity, faith and conservation exists, that retrospectively has always been the case he claims.
“I block them like actors on a stage” says Pye, who, in his 20th year painting, admits it might be “difficult” to get away with the same old throw-away line about his work.