Michael Fratrich has worked as a professional artist since 1983, when he sold his first oil painting of a rural farm scene at the age of fifteen during an exhibit in Northern New Jersey. A self taught artist, Fratrich developed his style of representing rural and vintage American subjects at an early age. His distinctive artistic renderings have evolved from an appreciation of his family’s farm country roots in addition to his experience with the renowned artist and writer Eric Sloane. “I am very fortunate to have known him as a child, and to have studied his work during my own artistic coming of age,” Fratrich states. “To this day I still apply a great deal of his instruction to my own artistic philosophy.”
Fratrich, experienced first hand the tragedy of 9/11 as they were residing in Manhattan at the time. It was that event, coupled with the calling Michael felt to return to the rural scene that prompted him and his wife to settle their businesses and relocate permanently to Vermont. Michael has worked solely as a professional painter during the years since, painting every day in his Manchester studio.
Although Fratrich’s ability allows him to cover limitless subjects in oils, he prefers that his renderings follow his life’s passion for the Early American rural scene. His uncanny ability to capture the mood of our Vintage American Era remains the trademark endemic to his body of work. Along with sanctioning gallery viewers’ passage back in time to revisit worthy ideals, the magic of Fratrich’s renderings is that they may be emotively experienced. They serve as a vehicle for travel along the viewers own mental highways of exploration …or recollection. Simultaneously, they sponsor a pride in the laudable subjects of our American ancestry. Whether it is a farmscape painting that allows us to momentarily identify with the worthiness of the Early American Farmer, his purposeful living, and the beauty therein – or a covered bridge painting sponsoring our appreciation of the ingenuity and perseverance of the Early American Bridge Builder, fabricating a beautifully enduring purposeful structure of only basic materials, without the use of one power tool. Fratrich’s paintings enunciate the essence of an earlier era, and celebrate the endurance of those ideals to this day.
“What I am doing through my paintings,” Fratrich claims, “is recording the underlying American Spirit. I have moved to Vermont from a much more gentrified area of the country where the landscape is all but void of that sense, and I am filled with wonder every day at how much Vermont bubbles over with enduring impressions of the American Spirit. Whether I am driving past an old covered bridge, or an Early American Farmstead, gazing out of my studio window at the ancient apple orchard, or simply comparing old hand crafted wooden buckets at a local Vermont antique shop, I am bearing witness to the everlasting American Spirit that forged them.” Fratrich concluded, “To live the lifestyle of a professional artist recording in oils the American Spirit is to have found true happiness. I have found that happiness here in Vermont.”