OPENING FRIDAY 29 MAY 6 - 9PM
30 MAY - 13 JUNE 2009
Leah aims to create worlds informed by the imagery of folklore and primitivism, the imagination and the beauty of realism and nature. Focusing on the genre of portraiture, animals and nature are interchangeable with human qualities. The work explores metaphor, representing childhood, dreams, night and wilderness: symbols of the wild, of life and of youth. Woven with themes of mysticism and magic, Leah synthesises reality with the subconscious to create dream-like tableaux. Working across watercolour, conte, ink and sculptural installation, Leah's works depict emotion, document experience, tell stories, solve problems and ask questions.
A certain musicality is present in Leah's work, informed by her journal entries, poetry and sketches: each process is interrelated and evolves in an organic, continuous gesture. According to Leah:
'I like to approach paintings as an unfolding story... In the process you do not necessarily know where the story is heading, and as a result you lose yourself in each moment as the plot gradually reveals itself to you. By the end you have always learnt something new.'
Leah's subject matter is both whimsical and solemn: starkly painted figures in lithe contortions or stiff seated poses set against rich foliage, severe desert or star-spattered night skies. Starting with the face as the focal point of the work's emotion and tone, Leah creates imaginative works where the self and nature are in constant transformation, informed by symbolism and recurring motifs. There is a reverential quality informing her works that is akin to William Blake, as well as a melancholic tone, reminiscent of Frida Kahlo. The subjects are floating, looking fixedly out as if they are on the verge of something inevitable or inescapable, something unnerving...
Leah Fraser is an artist currently living and working in Sydney. Leah completed a BFA at the College of Fine Arts in Paddington in 2005 and has been practicing professionally for three years since her graduation. Leah held her first solo exhibition, 'When Night Comes Falling', at Black & Blue Gallery, Sydney, in 2007, followed by a second solo at Black & Blue entitled 'Fear and Might' this year. Select group exhibitions include 'You Can Count to Ten', Black and Blue Gallery, Sydney, 2008; 'Emergent III', Newport Gallery, Sydney, 2006; 'Dissonance', Kudos Gallery, Sydney, 2004 and 'Express Yourself', Manly Gallery, Sydney, 2002.
FEVER DREAMS marks Leah's first solo exhibition in Melbourne.
Installation photography: Louis Porter