Australia 1927 – Australia 1982
oil on canvas
152.6 (h) x 183.3 (w) cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1999
© estate of Fred Williams
In My garden there is a balancing act between the organic ferns curling their fronds and the rhythmic pacing of the straight black lines of trees, over the painterly field of red.
Williams often referred to other artists’ compositions in his own paintings. In the case of My garden he once noted that he drew upon Tom Roberts’s iconic image Bailed up 1895, 1927. ‘I’ve just taken the figures out and repainted the background.’ While there are definite parallels in the structure of this work, in other ways it could not be more different to the earthy tonalities and narrative dimension of Roberts’s painting. Instead, this abstracted bush garden drenched in vibrant swathes of luminous colour is closer infeeling to the work of Henri Matisse which he greatly admired.