Scott Fraser (b. 1957) finds paintings irrepressible. He may not have read Horace, but he embodies that Roman poet's dictum "Ut Pictura Poesis" (as is painting, so is poetry). This phrase can mean that paintings are mute poems, that the artist's image tells a story, just as poets create pictures with words. Much has been written about Fraser's visual poems, with their themes ranging from the personal to the philosophical. Poets gather material froma variety of sources, and Fraser's comes from life experiences, dreams, and family life.
Realists like Fraser trace their lineage to a curriculum established in the 16th century and refined ever since by national academies and private ateliers. The basic rules remain unchanged: learn to replicate the seen world with a hierarchy of instructive components. Mastering chiaroscuro, for instance, allows to learn how color interacts with form. Along the way, students enhance their knowledge with heightened sensitivity to unifying the composition in tone and lighting. Working with such elements is like juggling a series of algorithms that recalculate with each subtle adjustment. Painting in this way is keenly intellectual, wildly anticipatory, and nerve-wracking. It requires discipline to weather the years of trial and error. Fraser would be the first to admit that painting is a full-time job, day in and day out.