Neil Frazer

Neil Frazer’s new exhibition, Sea/Sky, at Martin Browne Contemporary, captures the seemingly unattainable raw power of the natural world that Frazer experiences during his travels. By removing any trace of human influence in his paintings, we are presented with authentic depictions of the wild sea, rock formations, and rugged coastlines.

Sea/Sky is named accordingly, with many of his exhibited works blurring the distinction between the sea and the sky, leaving his viewers questioning where does one end and the other begin. The sky in works such as Only Ocean, 2022, Rolling Blue, 2022, and Cloud Catcher, 2023, seems to mimic the ocean below, wisps of clouds follow the curve of the waves and the two elements slowly seem to converge. Additionally, the emergence of land masses further fuses sea and sky, eliminating or limiting the presence of the horizon. Neil Frazer has composed a seamless landscape. 

To ensure that his works maintain the high energy that one experiences in nature, Frazer employs a very physical approach, pouring the majority of his attention into only a few works at once. He frequently uses impasto techniques, particularly in his ocean scenes, to create a sense of depth, movement, and to capture the raw natural energy of the world around us. 

Within the collection of eighteen works in Sea/Sky, thirteen feature a land mass with waves eagerly crashing over the rocks. When looking at collection as a whole, it is evident that some rock formations have suffered the effects of erosion or rising sea levels more than others. Whether this shift in works is intentional or not, the impending threat of climate change becomes palpable in the remaining five works that feature no land whatsoever. 

Frazer’s twenty-year-long background in abstract art combined with his discipline in landscapes creates a dynamic canvas where the loud and impressive waves complement the quiet power of the massive rock formations. In a 2020 interview with Frazer, Artist Profile inquired about the effects of abstraction on his work: “When I painted abstractly, I used to collect lumps of tussock grass, branches, leaves and all sorts of things to look at and apply the paint with. It was also a way of bringing the outside in and having the palette and textures right there in front of me in the studio. It gave me a real feel of the landscape I was working from. It was as if as I was painting I was breaking it down to try to understand the physical structure and energy of things rather than just the way they look.”

Frazer is well-recognised and successful, having been exhibited multiple times, solo and in groups, across Australia and New Zealand for over thirty years. He has also been a finalist in many of Australia and New Zealand’s most prestigious art prizes, including the Wynne Prize in Australia and the James Wallace Art Award in New Zealand.  Frazer also received the Fulbright Travel Grant for Study, New York Studio School, New York City, USA, in 1986.

30 March – 22 April 2023
Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney

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