TITLE: Monday Muse - Fraser Smith
DATE: 4/04/2005 05:31:00 AM
When I was growing up, I remember my step-mother investing in quilting hoops, batting, special fabric scissors, chalk and blue markers, and every size and sort of ruler you can imagine. Oh, and did I forget to mention the fabric? Yard after yard of tan, taupe, and chocolate-hued calicos, her palette of choice. These are the tools of a quilter; the implements today's quilter needs.
Fraser Smith subscribes to a different quilting theory. His tools are those of the woodworker.
When I look at a Fraser Smith “quilt”, I see generations of craft traditions, from the symmetry in Amish quilts to the symbolism in the rare, remaining slave quilts carried through the Underground Railroad.
When I look again, I see thousands of years of painting innovation, from Brunelleschi-inspired perspective to timelessly popular trompe l’oeil.
Perhaps I’m biased, but the depth and richness that wood grain and a rainbow of stains can offer is far more miraculous than oils. When you look closely at an oil painting, you see brush strokes and the hand of the artist. When you look closely at one of Smith’s pieces, you see reflected light and color. It isn’t forced or applied as a gimmick to remind you that you're looking at "art". After all, where are you standing? Often, a gallery. Instead the artist’s hand is naturally implied.
I feel fortunate to have seen Fraser Smith’s quilts in person several times over the years. First, at a SOFA show. Then, several more times at other, smaller gallery exhibits. I’m blown away each and every time.
And I defy you to spend time with Smith’s work and not also walk away shaking your head.
Fortunately, your next big chance to feel the exciting Fraser Smith experience is when his newest piece is unveiled (or, is the term “hung out on the line” more appropriate here?) at SOFA New York this June.