Vintage Original Oil on Linen Painting by Ian Fraser ARCA (1933-1986)
Fraser trained in printmaking at the Royal College of Art, but as he grew older he was more compelled to paint to express his ideas. During his life, he worked as an art lecturer, mostly at Hornsey College of Art. Teaching in an art school exposed him to many contemporary ideas and freed him from the commercial necessity to sell his work. He was free to follow whatever trail his intellect desired, exploring colour, light, landscape and the human condition.
This series of paintings was exhibited at the Phoenix Gallery (Noel Oddy) in Lavenham, from 24th January to 23rd February 1987, just after Ian’s sudden death. He had arranged the exhibition some time in 1986, if not before.
Ian wrote the following about his approach and intentions with this series of paintings:
“My aim is to produce pure poetry, without recourse to secondary imagery. I realise on reflection that this is a fairly vague definition of intention, but I prefer to leave it so, for I do not subscribe to any particular theoretical credo - I paint according to my intuition and therefore rationality is a subsidiary factor. I seek a kind of perfection, which is a risky confession to make and perhaps not very fashionable. I know that I must inevitably fail, but to achieve even a hint of success (in my own terms) makes it exciting in that maybe I will get nearer next time.
The perfection I seek must be distilled from the essence of the activity - the colour, tone, disposition, spatial allusion, paint quality.
There must be a tranquility, which is nevertheless dynamic and therefore poignant. It must be clearly evident that the work is executed by human hand - scale is more important than size. Bravado paintwork must be avoided, however tempting, for it brings the attention entirely to the surface, destroying spatial possibilities the viewer may interpret. Yet the surface must retain it’s integrity - I seek no optical tricks, but rather to prompt.
Colour is of course, cardinal. There can be no end to the associations it may conjure, it is the inexhaustible stuff of painting, with its implications of light, of life and death. The other important element involved is time, painting being as much a ‘time-based’ medium as film, although it operates more in a potential than a kinetic form. It is partly for this reason that I (usually) give my paintings no other title than the date on which it was last worked upon. The other reason is purely practical - so that I may know when I can safely apply varnish as a protective coat.”
Ian Fraser London November 1986
A review of the exhibition by Ray Rushton can be found in the 13th February 1987 edition of Arts Review. I quote part of his opening paragraphs:
“These abstract paintings by Ian Fraser, for me combine the simple geometric grids of a Mondrian, the high tonality of Ben Nicholson and, strangely, the sensitive pigment handling of a Monet. In short, they are purist without being austere.”.
Framed in the original frames from the 1986 exhibition.
The painting itself is in excellent vintage condition. as is the frame, there may be very minor wear and tear as you would expect.
Coming directly from the artist’s estate and will be supplied with a certificate of authenticity.
Overall measurements: 44cm x 43cm.
H: 43cm (16.93in)
W: 44cm (17.32in)
D: 0cm (0.00in)