Artist paints a clear picture of career

Jennifer Zemanek

“What do you accomplish if nothing is ever expected of you?”

Pamela Fraser addressed the crowd last night during her lecture in the Art Building. Fraser, who earned her master’s degree from the University of California in 1992, is a visiting artist in painting at the university. She said compared to her expectations, she feels accomplished, but in viewing her whole career, she feels like she is just beginning.

Fraser has been painting for about 15 years, and she created the template for her future work, JFK, when she was a student.

The painting is a small piece of work with the initials JFK painted in different colors, such as lilac, peach and black, down the left side of the canvas. Fraser uses mostly acrylic wash on canvas in an abstract or humorist manner.

JFK and the variety of colors she uses led Fraser to gain a sense of humor in her work.

“I consciously look for humor in my work,” Fraser said. “I think about it throughout my work. I like to think of myself as an entertainer sometimes. I like to find a way to bring humor to painting yet with constraints.”

Fraser said she is most interested in how we make sense of everyday language.

“I like to make work that is almost invisible — which is a challenge — and things I find truly pleasurable in everyday life,” Fraser said.

Fraser said her works don’t necessarily have messages; they are open for interpretation.

“I am inspired by classic literature and philosophy,” Fraser said. “My paintings become about the ideas from these works.”

Fraser said she was surprised at the large turnout for the lecture.

“I hope the students gained some insight into my work,” Fraser said after the lecture. “Students need to meet a variety of different artists and view their works. Students can become more constructive that way. Students don’t get to meet many artists. The more they meet, the more in-depth of an analysis they can make.”

Sophomore fine arts major Krista Rickert said she came to see a different style of art.

“I am in the classroom next to Pamela, and I hear her teaching,” Rickert said. “I haven’t had the chance to see her work, and now I had the chance.”

The presentations help students become more critical of art and allow them to see what their professor’s style is more than just their teaching methods, Rickert said.

Contact fine and professional arts reporter Jennifer Zemanek at [email protected].