North and South

Neil Frazer2012/2012

Australian National Maritime Museum

Australian National Maritime Museum

I am most attracted to landscapes that demonstrate the action of time and natural forces leading to sedimentation, erosion.The passage of time is demonstrated within the shape and physical detail of the landscape and often bears witness to the violence and upheaval that has caused its formation... I often swim using a waterproof camera to record the details. I also kayak, walk or climb' Neil Frazer

This monumental view is Neil Frazer's response to his exploration of the NSW coast, especially the entrance to Sydney Harbour and the heads. It is a tremendously physical depiction of place, in his act of creation with shapes and planes defined by thick impasto paint and the carved whiteness surrounding them and in the framing of his subject. It elicits a strong visceral response while also possibly teasing out metaphors about place, and in our Australian context, about travelling across wild oceans to a new home.

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  • Title: North and South
  • Creator: Neil Frazer
  • Date: 2012/2012
  • Location: Sydney
  • Type: Painting
  • Significance: Painted from the water, this impressive work depicts an imaginative view of Sydney Heads and the physical and liminal space framing the harbour and much of the eastern Australian coastline. In parts abstract and figurative in style this painting is a dramatic contemporary view by a well known artist which fits within a long history of coastal depictions, rare at this scale. It is a powerful expressive depiction of the heads as both a metaphor and a physical place, with the swirling waters and the white space beyond drawing the viewer inwards to the space inside the heads. Frazer has depicted the water too as metaphysical wilderness and as a physical force, with the waves sculpting Sydney's sandstone basin and more generally chiselling Australia's coastlines. Broad and textured in brushstroke the work shows the fluid seas and flat planes of the coastalscape of the place where the museum is located. It is a compelling and accessible platform to explore rich cultural and natural histories of this site specifically and the water, oceans and coastlines in the cultural imagination of Australia's various populations.
  • See institution's online collections: http://www.anmm.gov.au/collections
  • Medium: Acrylic on canvas in timber frame
  • Dimensions: 2020 x 2000 mm
  • Credit line: ANMM CollectionDonated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Neil Frazer