A haystack
A haystack

William Delafield Cook

1936 - 2015 A haystack 1983
  • acrylic on canvas
385 cm x 189 cm

William Delafield Cook's paintings of haystacks reveal the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary aspects of reality, as a humble structure made of straw takes on the appearance of a classical temple set in an open landscape. The works relate to the artist's early appreciation of Greek temples and ruins, as well as his fascination with William Henry Fox Talbot's early photograph, A haystack 1844.

Delafield Cook understood the 'magic' that early photographers felt about being able to hold or fix an image in time.

He was also inspired by the films of Michelangelo Antonioni and Joseph Losey particularly the effect of the intense, protracted scrutiny of the camera 'gaze' on a seemingly inconsequential aspect of reality, disrupting our normal consciousness and creating a bristling tension.

Delafield Cook painted several haystacks at intervals from 1976 through the 1980s.

Source: Deborah Hart, William Delafield Cook - a haystack, in Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002

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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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