The Chazan Gallery @ Wheeler
The Romantic Imperative, an exhibition featuring paintings by David Frazer and photographs by Denny Moers
November 15 to December 5, 2018
There will be an opening reception for the artists on November 15, from 5:00 - 8:00. The public is invited.
David Frazer’s painting is improv, no prior designs or predicted outcomes. He begins a canvas with color, both intentional and accidental, generating an abstract expressionist surface. Frazer then picks a random spot and starts a series of wrapped forms that are biomorphic and suggestive. In the beginning composition and order are not a concern, but instead he welcomes a chaotic and problematic canvas that requires opportunities for resolution later on. Frazer uses a series of motifs that are not narrative specific but in context express vulnerability, birth, love, risk and loss. During this process the challenge to make sense of it all builds. How can he bring chaos under control? How can he prevent each painting from being simply a collection of random parts?
Frazer is a formalist. Living in Rome several years heightened his early interest in Flemish painting but with new influences by the frescos of Giotto in Padua and of Piero della Francesca in Arezzo. Their paintings, combinations of realism and abstraction still influence his aesthetic. Frazer’s paintings are combinations of representation and abstraction with romantic intent. He believes in surrender and encourages accident but through the process orders the elements in ways that seem absolute and necessary. Craft, important to him, is the developed skill of what has been done but art is the developed exploration of what hasn’t been done, seen before or understood already. Painting as art with craft is his goal, something that honors tradition but strives to be new and uniquely his own. Asked about the meaning of his work, he can only say that he listens to the news all day in the studio and this fuels indirectly his imagery and mood. He says, “I like what the poet W.H. Auden said, ‘I look at my work and I see what I think.’ I can’t explain it better than that.”
Professor David Frazer, Painting Department, Fine Arts Division, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), has taught at RISD since 1978. He earned his BFA in painting from RISD in 1970 and his MA in painting from University of New Mexico (UNM) in 1976. Frazer has exhibited in Beijing and Shenyang (2014), with two major one-person museum exhibitions in Hangzhou and Jinan 2017, and travelling exhibitions in Beijing, Urumqi and Karamay (2017), and again in Urumqi and Beijing (2018).
The American poet, Charles Olson described the process of composing poetry as an open field; words forming their meaning directly and concretely on this ‘landscape made of paper’. Denny Moers has always felt the visual experience as collaboration with this open field; sensitized to everything he could bring to it and receive from it through the interaction of light, chemistry, film and paper.
Moers has photographed subject matter as diverse as New England architecture, medieval wall frescoes and tomb reliefs, construction sites, western landscapes, abandoned structures and the visual remains of cultures from around the world. The act of photographing often demands attention to technical details and he has countered this technical control with an equal involvement using the fluidity of accident in the making of his monoprints. Moers call this the ‘struggle for the horizon line’ and its balance continues to evolve.
Photographing and printing have been one of transformation from the literal to the imagined; from the seen to the felt; from the invisible to the visible. The poetic insight for Moers is one of intangible qualities that can sustain a viewer through a core mystery made manifest by the artist.
As he explored new subject matter, the process of making these monoprints evolved from subtle, pastel like tones into an expressive bold range of hues from deep blues to saturated reds—all coaxed out through the chemical and light interaction of black and white photographic paper. The idea of the monoprint is central to Moers’ working process as all prints are unique and can render different ideas and feelings each time the image is printed in the darkroom.
From the first architectural abstractions to the current body of work with landscapes and structures from around the world, Moers has sought to sustain an emotional core and further a sense of mystery with the understanding that subject matter is always internal.
Denny Moers is known for his highly imaginative, technically innovative monoprints created by controlling the action of light on the chemical-sensitized photographic paper during the print developing process, giving his black and white photographs an extraordinary range of tonalities. He has photographed subject matter as diverse as New England architecture, medieval wall frescoes and tomb reliefs, contemporary constructions sites and western landscapes and dwellings. He current work is Animal Laments.
Denny Moers received his MFA from the Visual Studies Workshop. During the 1980’s he worked as Aaron Siskind’s first assistant and printer. He is currently on the faculty of Roger Williams University and Babson College. He received a RI Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2003 and the RI Council on the Arts Fellowship in Photography four times.
His photographic monoprints are included in over 30 public and private collections throughout the world including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Houston Museum of Art, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Yale University Art Museum, Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and the Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City.
Recent publications include a new biographical film, Casting Deep Shade by David H Wells, a book of the same title in collaboration with CD Wright will be published by Copper Canyon Press in 2018, a featured chapter in the ‘Experimental Photography Workbook’ by Christiana Anderson published in 2012, and the portfolio Between Now & Then-A selection of book covers with a foreword by CD Wright published in 2006. His work has graced the covers of over 25 books and albums. Mr. Moers’ artwork is represented by the Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, Mass., Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL, and Thomas Meyer Fine Art, San Francisco, CA.
The Chazan Gallery at Wheeler School is located at 228 Angell Street in Providence. For more information call Elena Lledó at (401) 421-9230 or email at email@example.com.
Elizabeth Kilduff, Director