“Art deserves a big stage and engaged viewers rather than be shy and shut away. I want to use digital media to create a new type of performance space for art to investigate. The heart of this work is the contemporary experience of creative intimacy and the way we are changed by that revelation – whether my own with the artists I admire or the audience who come to watch me have my way with these canvases. I consider these works both an homage and a kinky group orgy though only I am physically present.” – Brent Ray Fraser
Brent Ray Fraser’s performance-based work is an operatic experience for the senses. Purposefully theatrical, Fraser takes his audiences on a thrill ride to reveal the most intimate and complex aspects of his creative self.
More than just painting in front of a camera, Fraser’s performances are a mixed-media tour de force combining paint, music, video, improvisation, audience participation, emotional catharsis and creative release. In their raw way, they are part of an art historical tradition of artists breaking down barriers to provocatively challenge an audience first hand.
Performance + Art
Performance art got off to a kinky start in a Zurich nightclub during World War I – Cabaret Voltaire brought together a ragtag group of Dadaists and other oddball kids who performed bizarre acts for a raucous audience. Live art performances have only grown stranger since. In 1971, artist Chris Burden had himself shot in the arm from 15 feet away to prove the power of art to inflict self-damage. Gilbert and George – the Turner Prize-winning bad boys of East End London – have enjoyed(!) a controversial career using their own bodies (which they call ‘living sculptures’) in live performances. And Yugoslavian artist Marina Abramovic became the most high-profile contemporary performance artist after staging her 2010 piece The Artist Is Present at MOMA. Abramovic sat immobile in the gallery’s atrium for about 10 hours each day for 2 months allowing random people to sit directly in front of her for extended periods in a shared vigil of intimacy. Performance art unbinds creativity.
In his on-going performance-based series Idol Worship, Brent Ray Fraser achieves his own startling intimacy both with his viewers and his artistic heroes. Fraser recreates and then sexes up famous paintings in long, frequently naked performance sessions set to grandly dramatic music which he livestreams for an international and interactive audience. Fraser wants to literally fuck with our expectations about what is art. The works are playfully suggestive with a pornographically comic edge. And Fraser treats them as a collaborative effort – improvising parts as per his audience’s suggestion. In their creative exuberance, Fraser’s performances become a 21st century vaudeville routine for a new digitally sexual age. In Fraser’s fabulous form , the reverie of art is turned into a seductive trance. Hot, charming and hypnotic.