“My paintings lie somewhere between abstraction and figuration – textured and layered surfaces are juxtaposed with deeply recessed spaces into which the viewer can journey.” (1)
These are not conventional landscapes, they are imaginative reinventions which convey powerful physical essences and attain an extraordinary state of sensory immersion.
This exhibition, Escapist, is deeply informed by the artist’s experience of Antarctica and the Southern Alps of NZ.
Ice Age (2010) is an utterly compelling work with surfaces so dense and convincingly cold it seems to have been hewn straight from the Antarctic itself. Neil Frazer builds in all his works a profoundly sensory experience where the role and language of temperature is as important as other key visual information.
The sculptural qualities of these paintings are everywhere evident. The thickly worked, (at times) gestural surfaces are so fluid and tactile they advance from the two-dimensional canvas and establish a physicality that furthers the subject matter.
He uses the sky as a – seemingly contradictory - void. Presented flat and white, what is apparently absent is unmistakably present. This stylistic mastery adds significant painterly dialogues – the sharp relief of the landscape edge, the endlessness of alpine distance, the immensity of scale and locale.
Frazer’s eye for detail, conveyed so convincingly in a myriad of ways including that of the absence/presence duality in these paintings is extended again in such works as Cold Point (2015), Ice Slice (2015) and Crystal Clear (2015) where mirror reflection is given the same pictorial weight as the landscape.
1. Neil Frazer, Artist Statement in untitled catalogue, Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane, July 2010