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Carol Fraser, Ambivalence
oil on linen
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(b. 1930, Superior, WI; d. 1991, Halifax, NS)
oil on linen
128.5 x 128.3 cm
Purchased with support from the Canada Council Acquisitions Assistance Program, 1985
Mount Saint Vincent University Collection
Carol Fraser was a key figure in the Halifax art community during the thirty years she lived here. Having studied biology and chemistry before completing her art education, Fraser explored ecological themes in her saturated paintings. Her experience as a medical illustrator provided her with detailed knowledge of human anatomy, and the skills to render it intelligibly. By combining anatomical with botanical imagery Fraser created surrealistic compositions that transcend any organism known to science, yet maintain the illusion of structural function.
Rich in imagery and metaphor, the vividly coloured Ambivalence explores the connection between humans, nature, biology and spirit. I am always discovering the complicated relationships that organic things share with each other...All the parts of nature, including ourselves, not only need each other, they are part of each other.@ This theme appears again in The Solipsist, which fuses landscape and human form; creating a living organism that encompasses all we see. By presenting the self as nature, and nature as human, Fraser explores the concept of solipsism, the view that the self is all that exists or can be known (Oxford English Dictionary).
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