The following excerpts are from: “A Moment of Grace: a Retrospective of Ed Fraga” a catalogue raisonne published by Oakland University in 2001.
“In my first solo exhibition at the Feigenson Gallery in 1982, I incorporated found objects: door and mirror frames, broken panes of glass, animal teeth, into hermetically sealed reliquaries. These icons, as they were called, encased oil pastel drawings of homeless people I observed on the streets. Relying on memory, I would isolate moments in time that caught my curiosity, like when I saw a crazy lady wearing a plastic bag over her head screaming obscenities as she paced back and forth. Or the time, on a late summer night in August, I recall meeting some friends at a restaurant in Hamtramck as a tired waitress served us a round of hot dogs at Geenie’s Weenies.
The process of making art has always seemed analogous to alchemy in that the success of a work of art relies heavily on the ability to manipulate materials with the result being the transformation of the mundane to the miraculous. Common to many works throughout the years are themes of birth, rebirth, life, death, and transfiguration.
Living in Detroit during the 1980’s and 1990’s influenced the art I produced. The city was and still is a playground of discarded, post industrial, refuse. The past surrounds the city. Strewn across the barren cityscape lie discarded mutations of urban blight. Newly formed hybrids of crumbling buildings meld with automobile parts. Finding a paint pealed wall or door in a back alley or abandoned building, weathered by time, held the same excitement as discovering a fossilized rock for me as a child. With their own unique patinas, I could see the potential these discarded relics of the past had for staging a narrative of the bizarre, with figures as the characters and landscapes as the backdrops to various allegorical dramas.”
Ed Fraga, 2001