An interview about Fred Williams in Art Guide Australia
Aida interviewed by Sheridan Coleman in:
“Fred Williams changed the way we see”
“Williams’s experimentation and autodidactic fervour have encouraged many subsequent artists. Sydney-based painter and Wynne Prize winner Aida Tomescu sees in his painting an understated defiance against the overwhelming romanticism of historical Australian painting and against any propensity to narrow himself to a single subject, style or philosophy. “I am attracted to the freedom and playfulness of Fred’s approach: his willingness to let the painting exist as a metaphor for the landscape rather than be trapped by description,” she says. “His resistance to representation opened the possibility for a painter like me to work here.”
Tomescu’s own painting is festive, almost kinetic, built up in thickly applied layers, each brushstroke at once obliterating and intensifying the one beneath. It is both entirely abstract, and in Jason Smith’s words, a “marvellous, ethereal, metaphysical space.” As with Williams, Tomescu’s painting is determined by individual touch, like handwriting. “I am aware of what is over my shoulder as much as what is in front,” she explains. “Moving forward in my practice relies significantly on allowing painting, and materials, greater freedom to transcend local conditions, to open into a larger ecology.”
Image: Aida Tomescu, Messiaen, 2013, oil and pigments on canvas, 184 x 153 cm. Image courtesy Fox Jensen Gallery, Sydney.