Leah Fraser · Odyssey and Oracle

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
25th of February 2014
'She's the silent one in her soft boots' by Leah Fraser, 2014, acrylic on polyester canvas, 61cm x 51cm.
'We were going to see the World' by Leah Fraser, 2014, acrylic on polyester canvas, 122cm x 87cm.
'Sirius Cluster Magic Bottle' by  Leah Fraser,  40cm x 18cm x 14 cm, earthenware and assorted crystals and shells.
From left to right - 'Morning star magic bottle', 'Night visions magic bottle', 'Crownshaft magic bottle', all by Leah Fraser, 2014 for her new show at Arthouse Gallery.
I first met Sydney artist Leah Fraser this time last year, whilst photographing the  amazing home she shares with her partner David Shrimpton in Surry Hills.  Whilst we were shooting her house, Leah was preparing for an upcoming exhibition, and we had the great pleasure of previewing a few works before the show. I was instantly smitten!  There is something instantly engaging and almost hypnotising about the otherworldly characters Leah envisages.  Since that initial encounter, we've kept a keen eye on Leah's creative output - even including her beautiful work at our Open House event in Sydney last year. Leah's latest body of work is on show this week in Sydney, in an exhibition entitled Odyssey and Oracle at Arthouse Gallery in Rushcutters Bay.  The works depict mystical shaman-like figures in Leah's distinctive style - dark, haunting characters stare boldly at the viewer, framed amongst dense flora and fauna. 'This body of work is about the power and influence of water and the stars and the moon'.  explains Leah.  'It is an extension of my interest in different cultural practices, magic and religion, and particularly of shaman - healers across cultures. Using all these influences, I think I patch together this imaginary world of my own, through which the characters move, decorated in ceremonial splendour, often armed with ritualistic weaponry or instruments and with their wildlife companions, on sort of magical journeys or vision quests'. Alongside her spectacular paintings, Leah's show also incorporates a collection of striking glazed earthenware ceramics.  These sculptural pieces offer a tactile extension of the magical worlds depicted in Leah's paintings - 'I imagine them as objects that might be found on a shrine, bottles filled with tinctures and essences, as well as talismans and totems, it's almost as if someone raided a cave and found some secret treasures' she says. Odyssey and Oracle opens in Sydney tomorrow night, in conjunction with Art Month Sydney. Opening on the same evening at Art House Gallery is People Watching - new paintings by fellow Sydney artist James Ettleson. Odyssey and Oracle by Leah Fraser Open from 26 February to 22 March Art House Gallery 66 McLachlan Ave Rushcutters Bay, NSW Opening night - Wednesday 26th February, 5.30pm to 8.00pm.
'She won a wager with the sky' by Leah Fraser, 2014, acrylic on polyester canvas, 61cm x 51cm.
'The next move ushered the whole thing in' by Leah Fraser, 2014, acrylic on polyester canvas, 122cm x 120cm.

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