Fred WILLIAMS | Burnt ferns

Australia 1927 – Australia 1982
England 1951-56

Burnt ferns 1968
gouache on paper
image and sheet 57.2 (h) x 76.8 (w) cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of the H. J. Heinz II Charitable and Family Trust, Governor, and the Utah Foundation, Fellow, 1980
© estate of Fred Williams


In the months following the 1968 bushfires around Upwey and the surrounding region, Williams became increasingly interested in conveying the regeneration of the plants. Over time he made many engaging drawings, gouaches and oils of ferns as they gradually sprang back into life, including Burnt ferns. Here, the magnified shapes of the fern plants appear to dance across the ground, a joyful renewal of life after considerable loss.

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