Pouring the Cosmos with Fraser Radford

“Cosmos”, courtesy of Fraser Radford


By Chris

We’re coming up on the first year anniversary of our Artist’s Cove series, and I wanted to take this opportunity to catch up with the subject of our first installation, Fraser Radford, and see what he’s been up to.

As it happens, Fraser has been working on a new abstract series called Pouring Galaxies. As the name implies, a pouring method is used to achieve this cosmic effect. Once he has carefully chosen his colours, Fraser then begins the mixing process.

Emperor, Fraser Radford, Acrylic on Canvas, 15x84, $2,900
“Emperor”, courtesy of Fraser Radford

“Some colour pigments are denser than others so it can be a challenge to break them all down into a even, liquid substance and not have too many paint chunks left behind in the final piece. When I have a rough idea of where I will pour the colours, I soak the canvas in water to make sure the paint spreads and pools easier, and seeps into the weave of the canvas. As I am pouring the paint, I watch where the colour flows, trying to make sure each colour doesn’t overpower one another too much. Once all of the paint is poured, I will lift up the sides of the canvas slightly just so the water/paint mix doesn’t flood everywhere, and finally after a few days to a week, sometimes two, the painting will be dry and ready to photograph.”

It was fairly early in the process of painting that Fraser noticed the emerging theme of his work. His first piece was even named Cosmos. Having been inspired by photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, Fraser set out to make impressionistic representations of these images. The hope was to produce paintings that drew their inspiration from the cosmos, but would be able to stand alone as pieces for reflection.

Artists from the Colour Field movement of the late 50’s to early 70’s are key influences on Fraser’s work, and his current line stands as a testament to his love for colour experimentation.

“Using colour as the subject of the painting, and nothing else, is fascinating to me. Artists like Friedel Dzubas, Helen Frankenthaler, Jules Olitski, Sam Gilliam, Leon Berkowitz, Morris Louis, etc. all just focused on colour and its potential. They all used different methods to portray colour but made absolutely sure that colour was front and centre. No figurative subjects, no still lifes, just bands, puddles, and stains of pure colour. The artists were also not afraid to create large scale works. Something that I am still working on as galleries are more interested in large scale works, and not small scale paintings. Dzubas, for example, created a painting that is 57 feet long and is considered one of the largest, if not THE largest canvas in North America.”

Still, there remains a perception of the role of these types of paintings. This is a perception that Fraser, with a growing sense of his own voice, seeks to challenge.

“The majority of critics only like to think of it as decorative art (paintings to hang over your couch), and nothing else, which I think is nonsense. I have only recently become truly confident in calling myself an artist, and having adopted the label of a Colour Field artist makes me feel more confident in knowing what kind of paintings I will create for the rest of my artistic career.”

You can view more of Fraser’s artwork by visiting his website at http://www.fraserradford.com/.

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