I’m interested in the linear patterns that can be extracted from natural objects and in the meanings that they can be imagined to have. These works begin with ordinary photographs. To obtain just the linear essence of the thing I trace the forms digitally. I propose that this process of simplifying what is being considered literally draws out information, which though present in the photograph, is not obvious. It encourages contemplation of the form rather than the object it was obtained from.
When we see an outline, we may not know its source or meaning. In trying to understand the outline’s significance, we may refer to the object it came from, or we may assign an arbitrary and personal connotation based on what the shapes remind us of, or call to our mind.
The idea of reducing an object, or its representation, to its lineaments or linear components is one that is used scientifically to extract information from images. For instance, in geology, aerial photographs are analyzed mathematically to reveal the locations of fault lines in the landscape. So, objects (such as mountains) exist in an ordinary way, but they also carry information which is not at first obvious but which can be abstracted by tracing their linear forms. This information is carried as if in another layer above, or beside, the object itself. In the case of conventional science, the information (such as the location of fault lines) occurs in fact. We use such rational processes to seek explanations for why things are the way they are.
There is, however, another desire in us that is in tension with the desire for explanation – the desire for mystery. We want to explore that which we know little about, and though we say we’re looking for answers, we love the feeling of being on the edge of the unknown. Imagination is the tool we use to see into what we haven’t yet discovered.
With this work, then, I’m presenting an open-ended synthesis of information and imagination. A technique based in science is used to derive linear forms. These forms are presented in a format that encourages the viewer to engage both thought and imagination. The hope is that the viewer will carry these impressions and imaginings with them to their experience of the details they encounter in their world of ordinary objects and occurrences.
Jim Frazer originally trained as a photographer, receiving his graduate degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta. With colleagues from Georgia State, he helped to start Nexus, a non-profit photography gallery that later became The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. He was the first photographer to have a solo exhibit at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, and his hand-colored photographs of Southern landscapes were widely collected and exhibited both regionally and nationally. After moving to Salt Lake City in 1999, he branched out from photography to a diverse practice that focuses on mixed media works and collaborative installations. His newest work, though not appearing photographic at first glance, is nevertheless photo based, deriving from images of details taken from the natural world. The smaller versions of the Maps seen here were exhibited previously at the the Dalton Gallery in Rock Hill, South Carolina. This is the first exhibition of the larger wall pieces.