Works of Art with Infinite Possibilities

Do you remember looking at the clouds as a child with friends, picking out the ones that looked like animals or castles or faces? Wasn’t it surprising when your friends saw something completely different than you did in those clouds? That’s a similar experience to viewing and talking about art with a group—everyone is bound to see or feel something different in the same object. This phenomenon is especially relevant when faced with one of John Fraser’s works of art. While seemingly simple upon first glance, these minimalist works often inspire drastically different interpretations from one viewer to the next.

John Fraser, "Composition of Rectangles," 2004-05. Graphite, acrylic, and collage on paper. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Museum purchase with the Alvin Whitley Estate.

John Fraser, “Composition of Rectangles,” 2004-05. Graphite, acrylic, and collage on paper. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Museum purchase with the Alvin Whitley Estate.

The McNay currently counts ten works by this artist in its permanent collection, ranging from sculpture, to drawings, prints, and collage. Not by accident, Fraser’s representation in the permanent collection in a wide variety of mediums reflects the artist’s broader preference for varied methods and forms in his art making.

On May 23, the McNay presents a rare opportunity for the public to listen to and engage with Fraser as a part of the museum’s Contemporary Crash Course series. As his works do not necessarily speak for themselves, come hear what the artist has to say about them! Stop by the museum before the talk to take a look at Fraser’s simplicity and elegance of design in his sculpture Marker (2001).

John Fraser, "Marker," 2001. Acrylic and wax on wood. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds from the McNay Contemporary Collectors Forum.

John Fraser, “Marker,” 2001. Acrylic and wax on wood. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds from the McNay Contemporary Collectors Forum.

In the words of the artist, “my objective continues to be offering to the prospective viewer an object worthy of study and reflection, to make something that can arrest time and to offer a place for contemplation.” What do you see in these works of art?

To hear more from John Fraser on his process, work, and where he fits in within the contemporary art world, come to the McNay for his free presentation on Thursday, May 23 at 6:30 pm. Better yet, bring a friend and compare notes—you may be surprised at how differently you see Fraser’s art!

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