Media Release – 11 August 2011

Fred Williams: Infinite horizons showcases the works of one of Australia’s greatest artists.

Opening to the public on Friday 12 August, this is the first major retrospective of Fred Williams’ work in over 25 years. The exhibition will highlight his strength as a landscape artist and includes important oil paintings and luminous gouaches that reveal his distinctive approach.

Fred Williams created a highly original way of seeing the Australian landscape, often combining a feeling for place with an emphasis on the abstract. Although best known as a painter of the dry landscape, this retrospective reveals that he was also a remarkable painter of water; of seascapes, ponds, creeks, billabongs and waterfalls.

“Featuring over 100 works of art, the exhibition provides an insight into Fred Williams’ unique take on the Australian environment. It includes major international loans from the Tate in London, and numerous works from Australian public and private collections, many of which have not been displayed publicly before,” said exhibition Curator Deborah Hart.

Visitors will see a stunning range of Williams’ iconic paintings inspired by the unique Australian landscape from Upwey in Victoria to the Pilbara in Western Australia and Weipa in North Queensland, along with surprising lesser known portraits of family and friends.

The exhibition features a wide range of Australian subjects including expansive views of deserts, mountains, beaches, rainforests and bushfires as well as more intimate studies of wildflowers, mushrooms, birds and insects. Among the works that have never been publicly shown before is Williams’s marvellously illustrated China sketchbook created during a visit to China in 1976.

“Fred Williams is surely Australia’s greatest and most innovative landscape artist of the twentieth century. His paintings defined a new way of viewing and understanding the Australian landscape. Williams position in our visual culture is of immense importance,” said Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Ron Radford AM

For visiting families, the Education Activity Room will offer interactive activities inspired by Williams’s artworks and studio providing the opportunity for visitors to engage with the artist’s creative process, influences and working methods.
Fred Williams died in 1982 leaving behind a body of work of great significance. His art has changed the way in which we view and understand the Australian landscape.

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