Australia 1927 – Australia 1982
oil on canvas
122.2 (h) x 122.3 (w) cm
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth Purchased with funds from the Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation 2001
© estate of Fred Williams
In 1976 Williams experimented with a series of paintings on the subject of felled and uprooted trees which he had seen while working in the landscape at Kyneton in Victoria. Stump II is the major painting from this series. The unearthed stump is painted with rich textures and tones. The dramatic form is set against the suggestion of a burnt landscape with fine black silhouetted lines of trees in the background. Although Williams did not consider the stump as a figure, there is an undeniable suggestive, surreal presence to the work.
The painting which was described by Bernard Smith as a ‘quintessential Antipodean image’ made a dramatic impact when it was first shown, and has continued to be thought of as one of Williams’s outstanding innovative works.