“In this work (Super Nature) I am using painterly techniques and devices most often associated with abstraction or process painting, I am turning to the conventions of the traditional landscape. The goals of modernist abstraction were ultimately to delete any illusionary space or reference to figuration. I am creating the allusion of deep recessive space and contrasting it against the use of actual three-dimensional paint. I paint with a variety of tools including tree and plant matter, and at times it is almost as if a branch becomes an extension of my arm as I use the real to create the imaginary.” (1)
Frazer’s latest work is clearly related to the signature process, scale and intensity of colour uses in much of his previous work. But the latest work contains new treatments in regards to surface arrangement and to colour as well. Where previous paintings have described space by a ‘peeling away of the layers’ effect where shapes suggestive of representational elements were created, the works in Super Nature each contain a unique approach to representation and to the primary concerns of abstraction. The allusion to traditional landscape is strong here, as is the depiction of the elemental movement and power at work in the landscape.
Super Nature is triumphant. These paintings celebrate the polarities that are inherent in the natural environment as much as in human nature. The physicality in gesture and scale of the works promotes a kind of exuberance that it is as difficult to fight as nature itself.
In Frazer’s large-scale oil paintings, paint is often laid in thick impasto so that it protrudes from the canvas. “Frazer works his canvases on the vertical, attached to the wall, and applies the paint in a variety of ways, including rags, brushes and his own hands. Often in the later stages, he flicks the paint with his fingers straight from the tube onto the canvas, the twist of his wrist creating regular, bright loops of colour which articulate the surface of the painting, erupting away from the receding nebulous tones of the background.” (2)
1. Neil Frazer, Artist statement, 2004.
2. Felicity Milburn, Neil Frazer: Stretched to the Limit, McDougall Art Annex, 1996.