A closer look at the work of William (Bill) Delafield Cook (b. 1936) reveals at once his overlapping interests in the history of art, photography and the Australian environment. How one informs the other in the late artist’s work is carefully obfuscated by the almost-too-real elements of his orderly pastoral scenes. The impossible stillness that Delafield Cook achieves agitates the composure of his chosen scapes, bringing the makerly apparatus (painting) to the fore. 

On one level my work might be seen as about some kind of reassuring, comfortable landscape painting – a banal thing. I’ve never felt that reassured. I’ve always felt the whole thing of our human existence is very precarious. The landscape is part of our time span here; it asks all the big questions because there is this whole mystery about reality out there and our mortality. 

Upon his passing in 2015, William Delafield Cook had secured many of the country’s greatest artistic honours, having won the prestigious Sulman Prize in 1981, and been pursued by our most established public collections.