Local artist Robert (Bobby) Frazier has made a career with his iconic impressionist landscape paintings. Moving to the island in 1971 following his mother, also an artist who had settled on the island to join Nantucket’s artist colony, Frazier found himself most taken by the beauty of Madaket. He finds the light quality to be the best out in the western stretch of the island. He attributes the unique beauty to the structural nature of an island, “360 degrees of the compass: big skies, low dunes. Especially in Madaket, with the harbor and the south shore beach so close to each other.”
Nature is not his only influence, however. Frazier’s father taught code breaking for Army Security and worked with early forerunners of the computer including Turing’s Bombe at Bletchley Park during WWII. He believes that his father’s talent for deciphering codes and “gibberish” manifested as an impressionistic style of paining in himself, his subjects and color leaving the narrative of his work open-ended with billowy clouds, loosely painted waves and contrasting rays of light as your only clues. “Art, for me, involves an interpretation of what you see and feel and also imagine.”
Knowing the combination of influences in Fraziers’s pieces brings a new dimension to his work. Deeply rooted in honoring tradition and planting his easel in the same locations as the renowned artists who came before him, Frazier embraces art history, his own past, and the surrounding beauty making his work deeply personal yet inviting to us as the viewers. He shares a part of himself with every painting.