Show Preview | Elements of Nature

Durango & Santa Fe
Sorrel Sky Gallery, May 1-31

Cynthia DeBolt, River Silence, oil, 24 x 24.

Cynthia DeBolt, River Silence, oil, 24 x 24.

This story was featured in the May 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

With two locations in as many states, Sorrel Sky Gallery is presenting a series of two-artist shows running concurrently in both cities. The latest features a duo from the gallery’s stable, Cynthia DeBolt and Phyllis Stapler, each of whom presents a significant body of new work and is presenting a Santa Fe exhibition for the first time. “It’s wonderful to unveil the show in two locations. It’s an exciting opportunity to celebrate such incredible artists,” says gallery owner Shanan Campbell Wells. The show, entitled Elements of Nature, opens first in Santa Fe, NM, with a reception on May 1 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.; it debuts in Durango, CO, on May 7 with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

“They complement each other, but their work is as different as you can get,” says Wells of the artists. “But there’s something about their personalities that’s complementary. Their work is both soft and powerful at the same time.”

Collectors will have plenty of works from which to choose. DeBolt expects to have 10 new pieces, divided between the galleries. The minimal landscapes are fairly typical for the painter. However, despite the artist’s affinity for fall hues, she’s exploring blues, greens, pinks, and purples for this spring show. In MIDSUMMER, a teal sky rises above the parched, golden earth of a dry season. The piece may be from a New Mexico scene, but then again, it may not. “I usually paint from photos, but sometimes I find a little corner in them I like and crop heavily, or turn a photo upside down, so I’m not naming things. It helps me create images that are quite reductive and simplified. When I’m done, I don’t remember where I started,” she says.

Phyllis Stapler, Blue Heeler, acrylic/oil, 48 x 48.

Phyllis Stapler, Blue Heeler, acrylic/oil, 48 x 48.

Stapler plans eight to 10 new works for each location. For the Durango presentation, she returns to watercolor—a medium in which she once worked exclusively but which has been absent from her public repertoire for many years. Like DeBolt, Stapler features several tried-and-true subjects, as well as a few from her imaginings. Her painting DEEP WOODS INCIDENT depicts a bear with a fawn nearby, two subjects she’s painted in other forms previously. “The title is such that you’re not sure what’s going to happen: Will the fawn run? Will the bear notice it?” she says. “I like [painting] the frozen moments. The ones where if only the projector would go forward and you could see what would happen in the next few moments, the mystery would unfold.” Stapler also enjoys capturing unusual real-life creatures, such as the bi-colored ruminant in STRANGE DEER or the hairless dog in the painting of the same name. The most interesting creatures, however, are those emerging from Stapler’s recent dreams, such as a golden peacock she plans to paint in watercolor. “I tried to do it in acrylic, and it was too stiff. Watercolor will be more ethereal for a fantasy subject like that,” she observes.

Each artist is capturing the natural world through her artistic lens. “Phyllis has a deep love for animals, and her paintings embody that. Each piece puts the animals in a protective space. Cynthia’s work is quiet and calming. I could see a collector getting one of each,” says Wells. —Ashley M. Biggers

contact information
Durango: 970.247.3555
Santa Fe: 505.501.6555

Featured in the May 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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