|Biography from Stuart Kingston Galleries:|
I make trompe l'oeil wood sculptures of items made of fabric or leather. My subject matter is drawn from things that we tend to save, or cherish even after they are no longer useful; an old jacket that may not fit anymore, but we still keep it in the back of the closet, quilts, farmer's hats, and other items we might want to keep simply for the memories they hold. I want the works to look like things that have been used. You also may see some imperfections, or flaws in the wood; small knots, perhaps a discolored area. I don't plan these things, but I do enjoy them in a piece, as long as they remain fairly subtle. They are a quiet visual reminder that the work is carved from wood.
Like all trompe l'oeil artists, I'm trying to challenge the viewer, but I want to take it beyond the simple mastery of technique. In some works, like my quilts, I'm attempting to combine design, and use of color, with an interesting, but unexpected object. On the hats, I'll sometimes use vague references to obscure people or ideas that may, or may not be recognized by the viewer. On other hats, the label might be for a non-existent business, or product that might seem perfectly plausible, but when you actually think it through, it's unlikely that it is a real place, or company. In all my works I want viewer to find the object interesting, but initially feel that it's a bit "out of place". I want them to think, "Well, that's interesting, but why is it there?" When they discover that it's made of wood, they have to re-evaluate.
"Fraser Smith is like Merlin the Magician, 'wild man of the wood,' the
powerful figure of British folklore."
"Forty-two squares, thirty-two pieces per
square, fifteen stitches per piece. The thought of sewing a quilt is
daunting. Now imagine carving one. But that is exactly how Fraser
Smith? makes his living."
Jim Clement, Fine Woodworking Magazine
Fraser Smith, you have to rethink reality."
Wellner, American Style Magazine
"Stand back 3 feet, and the look
is impressive. Move to within inches, and you may be startled by the
power of the illusion. Fraser's slight of hand has worked."
Roger Schroeder, Wood Carving Illustrated
"A woodcarver, and
painter, working in an original, and unusual, art form he invented?"
Mary Daniels, Chicago Tribune
amazing? it's close to one of a kind."
Art Keeble, "American
Quilter", on Lifetime Network
"Drawing closer, ? the viewer
finally perceives that she has been the victim of a visual prank worthy
of a 16th century Mannerist."
Dorothy Joiner, Surface Design Magazine
"Fraser Smith is a man
Susan Thurston, St. Petersburg Times
very accomplished at what he does. People often wouldn't realize what
it was. When they did, they were shocked!"
Feingold, Clayton Galleries
"It's the first time we've ever seen
anything like this."
Meredith Schroeder, Chairwoman of the museum,
and co-founder of the American Quilters Society
"I contend that
you could put five Mark Rothko masterpieces in a room with five Fraser
Smith sculptures, open it to the general public and guess who would win
the popularity contest? Yep?Fraser Smith."
John Foster, "accidental
mysteries" blog, accidentalmysteries.blogspot.com
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