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Re-discover Australia's best observer of landscape at the Art Gallery of South Australia
Fred Williams Kate at the beach, Walkerville 1971. Gouache on Arches paper. Private collection, Melbourne© estate of Fred Williams.

ADELAIDE.- The Art Gallery of South Australia presents a major survey of one of Australia’s most influential artists. Running from 31 August to 4 November 2012, Fred Williams: Infinite horizons is the first major retrospective of Fred Williams’s work in almost 25 years.

Featuring over 100 works of art, the exhibition highlights Williams’s 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. This retrospective reveals how Williams captured the diversity of Australia’s landscapes; and includes seascapes, ponds, creeks, billabongs and waterfalls.

Described by historian and former Art Gallery of South Australia Director, Daniel Thomas as ‘our best observer of landscape’, Fred Williams revolutionised the way we see Australia. Williams captured the landscape as though from the inside out, developing a distinct idiom, one that has inspired generations of artists’, said Art Gallery of South Australia, Curator Australian Paintings & Sculpture, Tracey Lock-Weir.

Fred Williams’s body of work holds the highest significance in Australian art history and is comprehensively presented in this major exhibition that comes from the National Gallery of Australia. Curated by Dr Deborah Hart, Senior Curator, Australian Painting and Sculpture post-1920 at the NGA who says of the exhibition: ‘Fred Williams: Infinite horizons provides insights into Fred Williams’s unique take on the Australian environment. It includes major international loans from the Tate in London, and numerous works from Australian collections which have not been displayed publicly prior to this retrospective.’

Visitors will see a stunning range of Williams’s 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 personal portraits of family and friends.

The exhibition also 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 there in 1976.

Fred Williams died in 1982 leaving behind a body of work of great significance. His art has changed the way we view and understand the Australian landscape. It was a remarkable achievement and is a fitting prelude to the Art Gallery of South Australia’s 2013 exhibition, Turner from the Tate: the making of a master that showcases the work of one Britain’s greatest landscape painters, J.M.W. Turner.

Fred Williams: Infinite horizons runs from 31 August to 4 November 2012.

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