Los Angeles

Charles Frazier

Everett Ellin Gallery

The unusual imagery of Charles Frazier has, particularly in his most recent bronzes, evolved into an unique fusion of idea and material that goes beyond the art of assemblage to which it technically belongs. Couched in terms of childhood fantasy, his statements are direct, lucid and often powerful. Sometimes prophetic, sometimes poetic, sometimes merely fanciful, he is not afraid of running the risk of sentimentality yet remains within the limits of sentiment. Here, as with Chagall (although otherwise there is little similarity to be drawn) his imagery has the vitality of the uninhibited and the overtones of the psychologies of the twenties, although not Surrealist in form. Frazier’s technique involves the combining of “readymades” of strange compatibility and incompatibility into objects of new meaning For these he collects children’s, bones, skeletons, stuffed birds, lizards and shells, and haunts the hobby shops, the antique dealers and the junk yards. The larger constructions in mixed media are not always equally successful. Occasionally the scale seems to have grown too large for the idea, resulting in an overstatement; at other times the issue becomes confused in a kind of baroque elaboration of materials that in themselves become distracting rather than contributing elements. But at their best, the constructions display the craftsmanship of the artist who is basically a carpenter, constructing and carving in wood or working with components that can be similarly treated. The disparity of materials, where such occurs, is overcome by a unified treatment of the surfaces. Frazier has in the past relied heavily on the use of Sculpt-metal. In his recent small assemblages he has collaborated with the sculptor Don Haskins who has achieved tremendous technical skill in casting the objects in bronze. Though much of the success of these bronzes comes from their casting, one cannot deny Frazier’s exquisite sensitivity to the aesthetic potential of the found object and his unique creative ability to go beyond the found object, creating out of it images of fantasy that become convincing realities.

Constance Perkins