Amandine Thomas on Leah Fraser...
I stumbled upon Leah Fraser’s work on Instagram (like many other good things), and was immediately intrigued. An eclectic mix of studio shots, archival imagery and adorable baby pictures had me scrolling deeper and deeper into her feed, where the mythical meets the everyday in a lovely, earnest way.
It was easy for me to identify with Leah—as a young woman, an artist, a lover and teller of stories—and easy for our conversation to cross seamlessly from her art practice into her life and back to her work.
Looking at Leah’s amazing artwork is like being ensnared by the stoic gaze of her characters as they quietly invite us to jump in and follow them from piece to piece, across cultures, mythologies and ancient stories of humanity.
Every glance reveals more details—the fluttering wings of a butterfly, the half-closed eyes of a leopard, the shiny coils of a snake—each imbued with an intricate symbolism Leah has slowly built around her work. She finds her inspiration in the pages of mythological or religious texts, transforming the characters into her very own pantheon.
In her latest show, Within You Without You at Arthouse, Leah reached deeply into the experience of becoming a mother, starting to paint while pregnant and finishing the last pieces while her daughter, Odette, was nine months old.
As we catch up on Skype, her in sunny Sydney and me in cloudy Melbourne, she reflects on how she wove together life, death and transformation, touching on some of humanity’s greatest challenges along the way: how we must constantly reinvent ourselves as we move through life, and how we ultimately come from, belong to and return to nature.