We have been long-time admirers of Sydney based painter Leah Fraser, whose complex, layered artworks always capture a certain sense of magic! Her latest body of work ‘In the beginning there were stars’ is described as ‘ocular poetry’, where each work represents a stanza in a broader cosmological story.
Lush foliage and greenery sprout out of the canvases, surrounding a menagerie of ethereal and spiritual creatures. Leah’s exploration of the cosmos is grounded in research and symbolic references across multiple cultures (spot the tiger as an ode to William Blake, ghostly horses, third eye), but also grounded in the earthy and familiar.
This dual earthly and spiritual offering gives a sense of the everyday being imbued with a cosmic beauty! The exhibition blends the artist’s personal approach to mythology with established spiritual narratives, and in doing so, invites the viewer to explore their own understandings of time, self, and possible futures.
In her artist’s statement, Leah reflects : ‘the dust of the universe that swirled together everything around us – the Cosmic Egg of the Brahmins, the Big Bang, God: whatever it is that described the stored energy of creation – made us. This material has been dissolving and reforming again and again, to make our bodies in the present time, and will shift again to become our future selves.’
Like Joni, Leah’s incredible work reminds us that ‘we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden’ – hopefully a garden as vibrant and beautiful as depicted in Leah Fraser’s world!