September 10 — October 31, 2015
August 14, 2015 — San Francisco – Gallery Wendi Norris is pleased to announce that Oakland-based artist Chris Fraser, who recently joined the gallery’s roster, will exhibit new work in his first solo exhibition at the gallery this fall. For Animated, on view from September 10 through October 31, Fraser will debut two bodies of work: a group of light-activated sculptures that invite shifts in sensory and spatial perception, and a complementary series of intricate black-and-white photograms produced in the darkroom using the same sculptural materials.
The sculptures featured in Animated are composed of layered arrangements of perforated metal bordered by luminous glass tubes. Three of these works will hang on the wall like portrait-sized mirrors, and the fourth, the height of a human body, will rest against the wall. The tubes contain five compressed noble gases that create different colors when electricity passes through them: neon is red, argon is blue, helium is peach, krypton is a cool white, and xenon is purple. (Fraser has chosen not to employ the sixth noble gas, radon, because it is radioactive). As the viewer moves around the sculptures, each color emanating through the perforations interacts on the walls and ceilings, forming shifting patterns that seemingly vibrate. These sculptures can only be activated––and therefore fully experienced––by a viewer who is physically present.
Fraser says, “The idea of working with light and perforated metal initially came from speeding along the highway and glimpsing the rapidly changing patterns created by chain link fences on the overpasses.” The artist also cites, among other references, Robert Morris's Minimalist boxes and Maurice Merleau-Ponty's theory of phenomenology, which examines the fundamental role that individual perception plays in understanding and engaging with the world.
The sculptural works in Animated are, in a sense, dependent upon movement, whereas the photographs reflect the utmost stillness. The large-scale photographs are installed vertically, their physical presence reminiscent of pillars or monoliths. Displayed together, they suggest a two-dimensional architectural rendering. Each was created in the controlled environment of the darkroom by shining light directly onto photographic paper through layers of perforated metal sheets to create intricate patterns.
The industrial materials and exacting construction of the sculptures featured in Animated reveal the investigations of a methodical carpenter-cum-physicist. Half artist, half mad scientist, Fraser employs light to slow down the act of observation, unraveling the image so that the viewer can focus on the basic elements that construct our everyday perceptions.