Exhibition Reviews | Visual Arts

Aaron Fritz at Wasatch Frame Shop

“Fritz-followers” were excited to learn of Aaron Fritz’s new one man show at Wasatch Frame Shop, and were lined up and waiting on opening day for a chance to nab a new original.

Gallery owner and director Bill Barron explains: “Fritz has a tremendous following considering he’s only been painting for about three years. He sold all of his paintings at the Park City Arts Festival last summer within an hour and a half.”

Fritz uses the word “inimitable” to describe his style. “I have a process of putting a painting together that is quite unique,” explains Fritz, “I try and bring out strong vibrant colors of my subjects while hints of under-painting show to remind the viewer of its adjacent tones.”

Fritz’s paintings are contemporary impressionistic, with thick paint and deliberately evident brush strokes. There is a soft focus effect with no hard lines or edges. The overall feeling is almost dream-like. The colors are fresh and alive. Features are suggested rather than tightly rendered. The paintings are very attractive and have great visual appeal.

The subject matter is familiar and thus comforting. The paintings could almost be termed “decorative,” but not in a “designer” sort of way. They maintain a “fine art” quality and have a certain “preciousness” about them.

Fritz says of his work, “I love color, design, and expression. I try to bring out the emotions I enjoy in the great outdoors where I spend much of my time. I also love deep texture. Some of my paintings are full of self-imposed imperfections. ‘Snap, Crackle and Pop’ I like to say. I start my process typically scraping or pouring gesso and use a fair amount of texture in my under-painting. This allows me to get the mood I’m looking for.”

The gesso texture mentioned is fairly subtle and gentle, like the painting technique. The viewer has to get quite close to the surface to notice it. Because the fields of the landscapes are relatively flat and devoid of detail, the under-painting textures serve to provide greater visual interest and accentuate the suggestion of landform contours. The under painting textures are also evident in the skies, which are usually at least half of the landscape composition. The textural effect in the skies suggests of heavy, moisture-laden clouds, and hints at motion, as if the clouds are being moved by a mild breeze.

“I think every artist sits down with a blank canvas, a few paints, and creates — and in that creation they pour a little of their soul,” confides Fritz.

There is a lot of soul contained in these works. The artist’s love of the natural environment comes through quite well. There is also a strong emotional content. A sense of isolation is evident in many of the pieces. Even as elements are paired or grouped together, they maintain an individual identity. This could be conceived of as a social commentary on the modern condition. Even as people are grouped together in differing levels of relationships, we as individuals remain often times essentially alone. This isolationism comes through in the paintings as a sense of melancholy, or a quiet resignation of the human condition. Even the solitary houses seem to express the feeling of existing alone.

However, this is not to say the paintings are depressing; far from it. The sense of melancholy or aloneness is outweighed by the vibrant colors and the well-proportioned compositions. The fourteen medium-sized pieces in this show stand well together and present an impressive body of work. And they are at very reasonable price points. The feeling imparted to the gallery is generally quite pleasant and the viewer is compelled to linger and reinvestigate the paintings after the initial view.

Aaron Fritz is definitely a talented and an up and coming young artist.


The solo exhibition of Aaron Fritz at Wasatch Frame Shop continues through May 18th. For more information, contact Bill Barron at 801.485.1353.

This article originally appeared in the March 2006 edition of 15 Bytes.

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