The Provincial is delighted to present Pamela Fraser: Natural History, the artist’s first solo exhibition of a new body of work.
The title of this exhibition refers to botanical imagery, but also to the fact that it represents a shift in the artist’s work. Moving from a longstanding body of minimal, decidedly quiet paintings, these botanical pictures provide a crowded and colorful visual punch.
These dynamic, small-scale gouache paintings are informed by well-established conversations in art, craft, and design. Interested in the wide culture of color, Fraser is someone who has studied prisms, optics, charts, refracting surfaces, and how light separates and transforms into a spectrum. She has spent a career investigating reigning theories and ideas about color, who has them, what they do with them, and how these perceptions have evolved over time and continents. Her findings have culminated into her book titled How Color Works: Color Theory in the 21st Century published this year by Oxford University Press.
In her previous paintings she often riffed on some of these tenets. Deliberately resisting long held color graph conventions she made her own systems of color, exploring uses that shed the heavy exactitude of theory, ultimately giving power to play and unexpected outcomes. What continues to thread through in the new work here, is an intense focus and belief that the clarification or distortion of color depends so much on a particular point of view. She also sustains her curiosity in infinite permutations on a theme.
Utilizing observation, imagination, and sampling from ubiquitous historical sources of nature motifs in the built environment, Fraser’s central feature is the use of color. We see something like a pattern but complexities disrupt expectation. The intent is to produce a strong affective response as well as to unify a multiplicity of ways of experiencing and ways of describing in a single picture plane.
Pamela Fraser lives in Barnard, Vermont, and is a professor at The University of Vermont. In addition to her studio practice, she writes about art and organizes exhibitions.
She received her BFA in Painting from the School of Visual Arts in NY and her MFA in New Genres from the University of California in LA. She also attended Skidmore College and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Past solo exhibitions include at Galerie Schmidt Maczolleck in Cologne, Germany; Galleria Il Capricorno in Venice, Italy; asprey jacques in London, England; Casey Kaplan in New York, NY; and The Blaffer Museum in Houston, TX. Select group exhibitions include galleries and institutions such as GAD in Oslo, Norway; The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY; Wurttembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, Germany; Dundee Center of Contemporary Art in Scotland; and The Crayon Miscellany, at Art Omi in Ghent, NY.