Reception for Artist: Saturday, December 15, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco, is pleased to present Outside the Box, a solo exhibition by realist painter Scott Fraser. There will be a reception for the artist on Saturday, December 15, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. The exhibition runs from December 15, 2012 through February 2, 2013. Jenkins Johnson Gallery is thrilled to host his first solo exhibition in San Francisco since 2004.
Scott Fraser is one of America's preeminent realist painters, whose work is in the permanent collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Heavily influenced by art history, Fraser's Outside the Box will feature a series of paintings inspired by American painter Edwin Dickinson's The 'Cello Player (1924-26), which is in the permanent collection of San Francisco's de Young Museum. The ‘Cello Player is one of Fraser’s favorite paintings, and Dickinson is a pivotal yet underappreciated artist in art history. Dickinson’s work is a unique combination of elements from Romanticism, Symbolism, and Surrealism, and in 1943 his work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. He has received enormous respect and admiration but had a personal resistance to being a part of any group of artists or labeling during his lifetime, which in turn limited his recognition. Nevertheless, his work is innovative and powerful, and he is highly regarded by artists and critics both past and present. We invite you to see Edwin Dickinson’s The ‘Cello Player at the de Young Museum.
Several years ago, Fraser began an ongoing series entitled The Icon Series to pay tribute to artists he admires. Each piece in the series depicts imagery referencing integral works by one historic artist as well as the cast of Scott Fraser’s hand that holds a key tribute to the artist. Outside the Box will feature three works from The Icon Series including works inspired by Edwin Dickinson, Louis Bourgeois, and Georgia O’Keefe. In Fraser’s new painting Dickinson, the artist makes direct references to the de Young Museum’s The ‘Cello Player. Within the painting, a plaster cast of Fraser’s hand holds a replication of Dickinson’s painting. This is surrounded with references to The ‘Cello Player, as well as other Dickinson works such as Ruin at Daphne, which is in the permanent collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fraser is drawn to Dickinson’s object-oriented subject matter and his unique perspective. In Applied Reflections Fraser incorporates objects often used by Dickinson such as mussel shells and sand dollars as well as a vase similar to ones used by Dickinson in a number of his works that the artist spent months searching for at flea markets. Fraser staged the objects with the three way mirror set behind the still life which creates a unique perspective reflecting the objects three times casting a dynamic perspective that references Dickinson’s South Wellfleet Inn.
Outside the Box comprises fourteen oil paintings, including a rare masterwork entitled Reign, measuring 82 x 76 inches, as well as a selection of works on paper. Reign, his most recent large-scale painting and the centerpiece of the exhibition, includes elements of memento mori combined with a highly personal selection of found objects, rendered in delicate light. The artist describes the narrative behind the piece as being a combination of two separate still lifes, one on top of the table and one beneath it. The upper still life is a more traditional, time-tested arrangement, being interrupted by the shower of arrows, while the second still life is protected underneath the table, displaying emblematic objects from Fraser’s past works that still strongly resonate with him. Reign will be accompanied by a fifteen minute video featuring Fraser discussing the piece and his painting process.
Inspired by art history, particularly the still lifes of Dutch artists from the 16th and 17th centuries, Fraser mixes a classical approach to painting with contemporary subject matter and innovative compositions. He incorporates historical vanitas symbols such as skulls, peeled lemons, and butterflies, and juxtaposes them with whimsical found objects like flying goldfish, matchboxes, and popcorn. Fraser is interested in finding the “common quality” of simple objects while constructing compositions that are carefully planned through the staging of objects, preparatory sketches, and studies. In Pickle-ickle Fraser depicts a speared cornichon pickle on a prong of an ornamental fork being balanced between the fingers of a disembodied hand inspired by the quirkiness of Dr. Seuss. He named the painting after a lyric from a song by Warren Zevon.
This desire to blend art historical interests with contemporary motifs can also be seen in paintings like Goldfish Arc. Fraser blends traditional catenary curves with a line, Hershey's Kisses, and goldfish crackers. A catenary curve is the arc a string will make if held on both ends and allowed to fall, and many artists throughout art history have included it in their works, including Jasper Johns, who used the curve in more than eighty pieces.
Through new works like Reign and others included in Outside the Box, Fraser establishes a key interplay between classic and modern art, the progression of realism, and the distinct vernacular of still life painting.
Scott Fraser lives and works in Longmont, Colorado. His work is in museums throughout the country, including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado; The Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma; The Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, New York; Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri; and the Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences in Evansville, Indiana, among others. Fraser’s work is also in major public and private collections. Most recently, his work was included in Vanishing Circles at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ.