Sydney, 10 Jul 2018 — 29 Jul 2018
To begin with, Fred’s characters behave as though they were in private, not public, and oblivious to us the observers – or voyeurs as are some of Fred’s characters themselves. This makes us aware of the fact that we are looking at a painting, not real life. This defamiliarising device is often amplified by the use of an interrupting element – a repoussoir device – which interrupts our view of the main event, prompting us to look more critically at it. At the same time, Fred frequently has a kind of vortical perspective which pulls us down into the picture making us feel as though we were a part of the scene depicted, only to be pulled back to the surface again by Fred’s painterly treatment of the surface. He is constantly drawing attention to painterly contrivance. Powerful perspectival composition is balanced by the strong rhythms across the surface driven by the deeply modelled figures. Just like any good abstractionist, colour areas are coordinated across the surface of the painting to create a unity of the picture plane, often with light coming from several sources rather than just the one as in traditional figurative painting.