Douglas Fryer, "Emergence"

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April 17, 2023


April 17 – 29, 2023


Altamira Fine Art Scottsdale is pleased to welcome Utah artist Douglas Fryer for a solo exhibition opening April 17, 2023.


Please join us for the Artist Reception Thursday, April 27th from 7-9pm. 



The word emergence describes the forces at play in the paintings of Douglas Fryer; the synergy between the marks he makes and the finished paintings he presents. Each brushstroke in itself, and then taken together as a composition, speak of emergence and its synonyms—disclosure, exposure, unfolding, appearance, arrival, surfacing and materializing.


Emergence considers the nature of cognitive processing. When presented with visual complexity, the brain clumps parts into the whole for the sake of comprehension. Fryer offered an example: when you walk into a room, you register the space not as a circus of components—walls, ceiling, floor, furnishings, sounds, smells—but rather a complete entity. “We sense it as a whole, not as parts. We call it a ‘room,’ we don’t call it a conglomeration of things. The same applies to my paintings,” he says. “None of the parts or pieces explain the whole in a cerebral or logical sense, because the mind registers the scene as a landscape. My hope is to inspire a metaphysical experience of the work, where the paintings read on levels beyond the subject, and speak of dynamics that are only communicated through the process of art.”


This interplay between mark and subject relates to the philosophical concept of “gestalt theory” or when something seems greater than the sum of its parts. Fryer considers his new work within this perceptual paradigm as he honors both the “greater than” whole and the oft-skimmed-over “parts,” both the abstract mark and the representational effect. This dance between detail and composition speaks to the way he approaches his paintings as distillations of nature: last Fall, he did an artist residency at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico—a site as breathtaking now as it was for the Modernist master Georgia O’Keeffe. “When you first arrive, you are enthralled with the majesty of the place,” he says. “You notice the rock formations. You notice the plants and the trees. You notice the way the light plays off of all of these forms. It took the entire month of being there, of experiencing this sublime landscape everyday, to distill those natural features into concepts and designs that hopefully transcend their subject matter.”


Hence emergence: the profundity a Fryer painting emerges from the immersive act of looking both closely and loosely, of letting perceptions surface and coalesce, but also keeping all ideas in sublime suspension, ever moving with perceptual possibility.


Contact the gallery for details, (480) 949-1256,