JACKSON, Wyo. — Jared Sanders and Douglas Fryer approach the natural world with sagacity and discernment. They see the real and the essential, and they find the forms to express such perspectives in paint.
Sanders distills landscapes into their core parts, a career-long quest that has led him to ever more articulate and associative destinations. In his new paintings, the essentials receive portrait treatment: a hillside teeming with pine trees, car tracks disappearing in snowmelt. His portrait of a tree silhouetted against an expansive sky reads like a color field painting; where the marked earth ends, the rolling sky starts, areas imbued with the intrigue and depth of abstract paintings (think Mark Rothko or Gerard Richter).
“I want there to be complexity in that flat plane of canvas—not necessarily containing a picture but rather color and composition,” Sanders said.
“A good piece of art needs to have a little bit of mystery to it. During the process, you can get carried away trying to make everything just right… I’ve noticed over the years, the things I may have thought of as mistakes in the moment end up aging beautifully.”
In much the same vein as Sanders, Fryer sees the soul within landscapes. Most recently, he has been working on allegorical realms of rest for his lost loved ones, reflective of the artist’s own experience of pain and mourning in the last year. A winter spent dealing with serious health issues instilled an awareness of life’s fragility and death’s close proximity.
While recovering, Fryer’s horse fell ill. Having held Sonny at birth, Fryer cradled him as death approached, holding his gaze as he took one final inhale. In the cold of a January night, illuminated by the beams of a pickup truck, he watched as Sonny’s exhale lingered in the air even after his eyes went lifeless.
Fryer’s personal faith imagines an afterlife where spirits live on unembodied and reunite with those who have passed before—a place of peace and rest. Some describe this as heaven, paradise, the spirit world. Fryer describes it in paint—scenes idealized yet veiled by a physical and psychological distance even the artist cannot bridge. His canvases thus become evocative points of crossing. In this series, inspired by his loss of Sonny, he envisioned horses representing remembered relatives and friends. Despite being cast in considerations of death, these new paintings defy dread and fear; instead, they deepen explorations of mystery, quests for resolution.
Even though Fryer harbors a clear connection to each piece, he hopes the reception of his work has the impression of being less didactic, more felt. “I prefer to let the paintings be read and enjoyed on their own merits, without direct reference to the story or feelings that generated them. In this way the content of the work is communicated to the heart rather than to the intellect, as all art should be.”
Sanders and Fryer will enjoy tandem exhibitions from Aug. 3 through Aug. 14 at Altamira Fine Art. A reception will be held for both artists from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 5. For more information about each artist’s paintings, please contact Altamira Fine Art by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (307) 739-4700.