David Frazer is a born story-teller, imparting tales of love, loss, and humour in his exquisitely rendered and finely detailed prints. Working in the mediums of etching, linocut, wood engraving and lithography, Frazer embraces the craftsmanship required by these techniques, and has developed a technical mastery acquired through years of creative practice. His skilful manipulation of the aesthetic possibilities available in each print medium is evident within his substantial printmaking oeuvre, which conveys a distinctive vision of rural Australian experience.
The universal frailties, flaws, and hopes that define the human condition are the essential subject from which Frazer draws. He often creates images that feature a solitary male protagonist, set within a rural environment that is as beautiful as it is isolating. In Frazer’s prints, the landscape seems to reflect and expand upon the human narrative that it frames. Whether placed within deserted streets of country towns, or midnight hills with starkly illuminated twisted trees, Frazer’s land and streetscapes are animated with a yearning that somehow mirrors the emotion which his figures so readily express. Images of romance also appear, though far less frequently. Here the idealized memory of love is seen in the vision of couples embracing often in lush garden or park-bench vignettes. However despite the romantic haze there is a sense of looming disaster, a bubble about to burst, or perhaps we just see memories viewed through glasses tinted rose.
A palpable sense of decline is another ongoing theme in Frazer’s work. In his prints shop fronts are boarded up and empty, cars are left to rust in back paddocks, or decrepit houses appear on the verge of collapse. Through creating imagery of modern day ruination, the artist evokes a nostalgia for the past. Once upon a time children played in those streets, or rode bikes through pastoral locations, yet in Frazer’s work emptiness prevails. Where have the people gone we may wonder. The answer is most likely that they are now indoors, glued to their various digital screens. His prints contain a nostalgia for a world that has past, and through evoking its decline Frazer reminds the viewer of what is lost in the relentless progress towards modernized urban existence.
While representational in nature, Frazer’s works springs largely from the artist’s fertile imagination, combining a large dose of fictional fantasy with his observations of the physical world around us. In doing so the artist reveals his unique talent for imbuing a kind of melancholy beauty in the familiar and non-monumental.