These were not painted in a picturesque way — they too upheld the language of modernist abstraction. Williams had a deliberate and exacting work method. The horizon has been reinstated and the natural features of the land, while still undefined, are less abstract and more recognisable. See Acacia Saplings, c. Ways of seeing blend, overlap, and critique each other so that there are a multitude of ways of seeing at any one time. There was no scenic feature; his “all over” representation of the scattered bush in dabs and dashes was afocal, with no foreground on which the viewer could stand and survey the scene.
Fred Williams You Yangs landscape , oil on canvas. Sydney Gallery 16 Goodhope Street. But too great an emphasis on this link obscures the larger context of the Romantic sublime and how it applies to his work. Some are persistent, and may be thought of as universal or traditional, while others have a contemporary edge. Discarding the traditional foreground, middle ground and background of European landscape painting, in the first You Yangs series, Williams frequently dispenses with the horizon line altogether. The horizon has been reinstated and the natural features of the land, while still undefined, are less abstract and more recognisable. Another 18th century aesthetic term and a defining feature of Romanticism, the sublime applied to landscapes that were considered grand, magnificent, and awe-inspiring — such as mountains, oceans, glaciers, and waterfalls.
It has often been said that Williams enabled us to “see” a landscape that was new to painting: Commencing in late and revisited at times in the s, the paintings of the You Yangs — deriving their title from the Indigenous willims for the rock formations north of Geelong — include studio paintings, plein-air gouaches and experiments in printmaking. Once a week, he would be driven out to a favourite location to execute a number of gouaches and watercolours en plein air.
It is typically vastness, not intimacy, that characterises these works. You had a foreground, suitably framed by trees; a middle distance, with an arresting feature — perhaps a cottage, village or people; and beyond, the background, or far distance, likely to include scenic elements such as hills or mountains.
Instead they were disembodied, suspended above it.
ACACIAS, YOU YANGS III, | Deutscher and Hackett
Some are persistent, and may be thought of as universal or traditional, while others have a contemporary edge. The collection at Geelong Art Gallery demonstrates the significance of the series for both the artist’s oeuvre and the history of Australian art.
The horizon has been reinstated and the natural features of the land, while still undefined, are less abstract and more recognisable.
Indeed, the persistence of viewing landscape as scenery may be stronger than ever. The canvas glows and breathes and is filled with delicate, apparently random, calligraphic marks.
You Yangs Landscape Number 1
Williams’ You Yangs did away with these conventions. The coming of age of Australian non-Indigenous art occurred when it broke free of the imported European conventions of landscape painting to find a distinctly Australian language. These landscapes, whether in reality or as depicted by artists, were seen at a distance, and their vast scales elicited transcendental and spiritual notions. Ways of seeing blend, overlap, and critique each other so that there are a multitude of ways of seeing at any one time.
With a few exceptions, Williams’ pictorial language has a number of key features characteristic of the art of the sublime. This may owe something to the relentless branding of landscape with brochures and seductive photos to attract ylu dollars; with the focus now on the “exotic”, or scenic icons like Uluru and the Great Ocean Road.
Rhonda Senbergs in Important Australian and International Fine Art. While the absence silliams sky and horizon continued in You Yangs Pond, in the collection of Art Gallery of South Australia, trees are now more defined, profiled within the overall flatness.
InWilliams was the first Frsd painter to be invited to exhibit solo at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and he returned from this and several other exhibitions abroad with renewed vigour and confidence.
Available editions United States. Gangs of these he regarded as unsuccessful and discarded almost immediately. This was Williams’ underlying aim, and this retrospective suggests that he found its characteristic expression in his sublime paintings of the You Yangs. Melbourne Gallery Commercial Road.
Aerial views of this kind of landscape seriees especially like the minimalist paintings, without a horizon line, that the artist made at various times from the s onwards.
Gifted to Gordon Darling on his retirement as Chairman, Rheem Australia, Private collection, Melbourne Deutscher and Hackett gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Lyn Williams in cataloguing this work. Gordon Darling was among those lucky enough wklliams secure an Upwey landscape oil painting. Painting Visual art Australian art Art review Art jou. This was said to be the new aesthetic of the “non-picturesque”. Instead of hackneyed scenes of heroic gum trees and the pastoral, he had re-imagined it in such a way that it could be slotted into the latest international trends.
Visitors to the You Yangs from all walks of life enjoy its dramatic profile of granite hills rising above the flat plain, exploring the spectacular rock formations and brooding forest. But too great an emphasis on this link obscures the larger context of the Romantic sublime and how it applies to his work. However, its true significance lies in spotlighting a seminal moment in both his oeuvre and modern Australian art.
Follow us on social media. Pond in the You Yangs,watercolour, gouache, charcoal and coloured pencil detail. See for instance his emphatic horizon lines which pull the eye into the far distance. The sparkle of golden wattle contrasting against the cool greys and blues of winter fascinated Williams, a fascination he returned to seris later paintings.
As Patrick McCaughey observed: