Enigmas and variations in Fred Williams
Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons
by Deborah Hart
National Gallery of Australia, $39.95 pb, 240 pp, 9780642334237
The writers of two books about Fred Williams published in the 1980s, Patrick McCaughey and James Mollison, were friends of the artist, and involved with him in their roles as art critic/historian and gallery director. Their respect for Williams led them to write against the grain of their usual modes. Mollison, professionally always on the knife-edge of making judgement, held back, exploring with great precision within the factual boundaries of materials and processes, numbers, dates, and sequences. McCaughey, too, looked between art and artist rather than to mainstream contemporary art. In a new chapter written for the 2008 edition of his book, McCaughey endorsed the insights of younger writers, thereby providing a springboard for Deborah Hart.