Printmaker Cameron Fraser was born in Vanuata but at the age of four moved to Australia. He grew up in rural Victoria surrounded by vast, expansive landscapes. However, as a child he was fascinated by the small things that surrounded him everyday and yet often went unnoticed; the grain in a weathered piece of wood, a rusty discarded car part. This ability to look at things intently, inch-by-inch has remained with him and informs his approach to art. After completing a Fine Art degree at La Trobe University, he travelled through Europe and the USA before continuing his studies in Australia and the United Kingdom. He now lives in Spain.
Initially he was drawn to making prints and sketches of found objects, especially old, discarded, broken things. Their apparent simplicity allowed him the freedom to explore composition and technique and yet these same objects had once been regarded as something useful, valued, even beautiful, and so have a resonance and poetry about them. The distortions of view or of size give the objects new life, new meaning, and new beauty.
In his prints of flowers there is a feeling of the transience of life, of petals about to fade and drop. They are a form of vanitas; the empty backgrounds allowing us time to contemplate on the nature of physical existence. The textures, suggesting a frailty, give the image an ethereal quality and a soft, quiet beauty. Cameron treats the printing plate in a very sculptural manner so his sculpture is a natural extension of this. In his first exquisite chess set, the pieces work both as individual sculptures and in combination with the uniquely crafted boards, as a harmonious whole.
"The idea for this chess set began in 1997 when I found the kings head at a boot fair on the Isle of Sheppey. I had no idea what it originally was or how I would use it, only that one day it would be used in some way in an artwork. It wasn't until 2003 in Barcelona that I had been playing a daily game of chess in the studio with an artist friend, and using a light bulb as a basis for some small unfinished sculptures that I put the two together and I had my King.The Queen is based on a succulent plant.The Bishop was crafted from placing different sized coins in a pile.The Knight was the last piece to come to mind and was inspired by an armoured horse in the Wallace collection in London.The Castle is an extension of the base and allows all the other pieces to be placed on top (one at a time), but is useful for 'Queening' which allows for another Queen to be made from the Castle plus another piece when your Pawn reaches the other side.The Pawn is the simplest and most chess like piece on the board, using simple lines and shapes."
Fraser has held solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and internationally in the UK and Spain. He was awarded the Fremantle Print Award, the Unique State Prize in 1992, the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Scholarship in 1995 and the Dyason Bequest by the Art Gallery of South Australia in 1996. His work is held in numerous public and University collections in Australia.