Creative Cauldron - Fred Williams

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Artist inspiration and artist influences. No biographies, dates or scholarly research here - this is a personal response to the work of Fred Williams by Australian artist Fiona Morgan.

Iron Ore Hill Mount Turner - Fred Williams painting
Iron Ore Hill Mount Turner
Hillside - Fred Williams painting

There are some hills just outside Bacchus Marsh as I drive to Melbourne from Ballan that look like the quintessential Fred Williams landscape. High horizon, sparse squiggly-dot trees, textured, muted tones. I love driving past it. It's like seeing the essence of what he achieved in his painting reflected back on a grand scale in life. A giant living version of how he saw the views.
Iron Ore Landscape - Fred Williams painting
Iron Ore Landscape

Red Landscape - Fred Williams painting
Red Landscape
‘In Australia there is no focal point. Obviously it was too good a thing for me to pass up.’ Rather than adopting conventional perspective, space is flattened and tilted towards the viewer, implying the microcosm within the macrocosm and an aerial viewpoint. From his retrospective at the NGA.

Upwey Landscape - Fred Williams painting
Upwey Landscape

Burning Tree Stump - Fred Williams painting
Burning Tree Stump

His interest in finding an aesthetic 'language' with which to express the very un-European Australian landscape. This was grounded in establishing a pictorial equivalent to the overwhelmingly vast, primarily flat landscape, in which the traditional European relationship of foreground to background breaks down, necessitating a complete re-imagining of compositional space. In this, Williams looked to the approach taken by Australian Aboriginal artists.

You Yangs Landscape - Fred Williams painting
You Yangs Landscape

Dry Creek Bed Werribee Gorge I - Fred Williams painting
Dry Creek Bed Werribee Gorge I

He managed to achieve the completely new way of representing the landscape (no small accomplishment) that he aimed for and his paintings are instantly recognisable from across a room because of it. 

Circle Landscape Upwey - Fred Williams painting
Circle Landscape Upwey

Claypans - Fred Williams painting

The influence of Aboriginal art is always apparent in the dots and pattern, the earthy muted tones, the aerial like view.

Silver and Grey - Fred Williams painting
Silver And Grey
Yellow Landscape - Fred Williams painting
Yellow Landscape

His artwork has a texture and life that is breathtaking in real life. These small reproductions do his paintings no justice whatsoever. Even his abstracted versions of landscapes capture a distinct feeling of what it's like to stand in a vast Australian landscape and feel the spaciousness.

Hardy River Mount Turner Syncline - Fred Williams painting
Hardy River Mount Turner Syncline

Upwey Landscape II - Fred Williams painting
Upwey Landscape II

More links to Fred Williams

Fred Williams official website:

About the Creative Cauldron series of posts

Creative Cauldron - artistic influences & inspiration for Australian artist Fiona MorganThe Creative Cauldron series of posts explores and showcases the visual styles, techniques, attitudes, ideas, artists and paintings that have had the most impact on me. 

The rest of the series is accessible via the Creative Cauldron page. Have a meander if you please, and remember to check out my artworks on Flickr, and have an insider peek at life as an artist on Facebook.

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