Fred WILLIAMS | Lightning storm, Waratah Bay

Australia 1927 – Australia 1982
England 1951-56

Lightning storm, Waratah Bay 1971-72
oil on canvas
not signed
91.5 (h) x 127.0 (w) cm
Private collection
© estate of Fred Williams



Lightning storm, Waratah Baywas inspired by a particularly dramatic storm that Williams witnessed from Walkerville looking across to Waratah Bay. The work is one of his first experiments using the layered, horizontal format in oil painting. Within each layer there are indications of rain and streaks of lightning breaking up the varied blue tones of water and sky.

The painting reads equally well as a tautly conceived response to abstract painting. Williams had been inspired by the exhibition Two decades of American painting that came to Australia in 1967. As he said: ‘I couldn’t ignore the Colour Field movement and continue to paint. I had to make a response to the most significant art movement of that time in Australia, and that was the New York Colour Field Movement.’

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