L.A. Louver will mount the first West Coast exhibition of landscape paintings by Fred Williams (1927-1982), one of Australia’s most acclaimed artists.
The opening reception for Fred Williams: The Later Landcapes: 1975-1981 will be held Friday, April 8, at 6 p.m. The show will run through May 14.
“Williams distilled the ubiquitous Australian visual realities of eucalypt haze, heat shimmer and random incident into a modernist visual syntax of beautiful concision,” wrote Sebastian Smee in ‘Splendid Isolation,’ in The Australian in January.
The exhibition includes some of the artist’s finest paintings from the height of his career, and were made during the six years that preceded his premature death at age 55 in 1982. While the majority of the paintings have been previously loaned to museum exhibitions by the estate, many of the canvases will be shown here for the first time.
The later landscapes represented a shift in Williams’ work, both in subject and process. Color was the chief agent of change, as his modulated tonal palette and occasional use of a singular monochrome expanded to embrace a wider range of hues. Williams also exposed himself to a greater diversity of subject. While previously he had focused on one subject, he began to work on several series simultaneously.
This renewed vigor and confidence were fueled by a change in working practice. In the habit of sketching mainly in gouache in situ, and working up the final compositions back in the studio, he worked increasingly in oil, en plein air.
Williams received his early training at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School. He continued his studies in London where, during six years in the early 1950s, he attended part-time both the Chelsea Art School and the Central School of Arts and Crafts. Returning to Australia in 1957, Williams spent the following decade painting the landscape around Melbourne. He exhibited widely in Australia during this period, earning critical acclaim, and respect from both his peers and a younger emerging generation of artists.
Although best known in Australia, where he is considered a national treasure, Williams has also been honored with exhibitions worldwide. Solo shows include the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1977, the Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1988; and the British Museum, London, 2003-2004.L.A. Louver is located at 45 North Venice Boulevard in Venice.