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Major exhibition to finish next week

Fred Williams' The Pilbara Series will come to a close at Benalla Art Gallery on Tuesday.

January 23, 2014 4:27am

An exhibition of one of Australia’s most significant series of landscape paintings, Fred Williams’ The Pilbara Series, will come to a close at Benalla Art Gallery on Tuesday.

Thousands have already visited the gallery to see the last major series painted by Williams before his death in 1982, which includes all 13 of the paintings from the series and five of the gouaches.

Benalla Rural City Mayor Barbara Alexander is urging people who have not yet seen the exhibition, or would like to see it again, to make sure they take the opportunity during the next two weeks.

‘‘These paintings are breathtaking in their colour and scale, and in their perspective of one of Australia’s most iconic landscapes,’’ Cr Alexander said.

‘‘What better way to escape the heat of summer than to take your time soaking up this wonderful exhibition?’’

Fred Williams’ depictions of Australia’s dramatic inland landscape, which he experienced during visits to the Pilbara in Western Australia in 1979, are striking in their use of colour and the use of aerial and close-up views, and his obvious respect for the land.

The National Gallery of Victoria is lending the works, and Rio Tinto — which originally commissioned the series in one of the greatest gifts of Australian corporate philanthropy — is providing sponsorship for the exhibition.

The paintings have been previously described by renowned Australian artist and curator of the exhibition Ivan Durrant as ‘‘the most important body of work Fred Williams ever painted’’.

‘‘These works are so powerful and moving that anyone seeing them will forever view the Australian landscape in a new light. Fred Williams is one of Australia’s leading artists, to be considered alongside such greats as Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and Russell Drysdale,’’ Mr Durrant said.

The gallery is open daily from 10am until 4pm except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

The gallery opens at 1pm on Anzac Day. The cafe is open from 9am until 4pm on the same days the gallery is open. Phone 57602619.

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