Artist Sherry Salari Sander and her sculpture "Whitetail Deer"

Ones to Watch: Sherry Salari Sander

BRONZE SCULPTOR SHERRY SALARI SANDER combines the strength of the animals she portrays with the fierce emotional response she experiences while in their presence. Her pieces show her roots in abstract art while keeping the viewer grounded in the subject. In this way she is able to liberate the figure from the clay as well as communicate its power. 

Once she decides on a subject Sander needs to fully commit to it. “I can’t put it aside like a canvas; it’s going through months in the foundry,” she says. “Visualization is the next step in my process. The sculpture then evolves — it’s scary thinking I have deadlines, and I want this to be the best thing I’ve ever done. I hope I have tons of wonderful accidents that take place, things I couldn’t have possibly thought of on my own, stumbled on changes.”

Above all, she tries to be flexible.

“I try to maintain some lateral thinking,” she says. “The work gets stale if I don’t. I need to take chances in my work. Compositions I never dreamed. I’ve found that poetry has helped my sculpture.”

And music. She’s just started taking trumpet lessons and keeps a baby grand piano in her studio. “It helps me to look at things a different way,” she says. 

Sander works in clay because she is attracted to the feel and suppleness of it, but what comes across strongest is the smooth flow in her lines, the suggestions of movement that speak volumes. “The clay says more for me than other mediums. You don’t put your finger somewhere just because you like texture,” she says. “You want to show it was a conscious placement of your hand, but it has to prove it’s worthy of being in that spot. It has to suggest a texture the animal provides, not the sculpture.”

She works from direct experiences with the animals she sculpts. Usually out on horseback, so she can get close without spooking them. “I always want to make eye contact with these animals,” she says. But in sculpting them she doesn’t need to include every hair. “I don’t have the temperament for that. I started out being an abstract sculptor and that was good training. You learn to leave a lot out. I try to tighten up on the face or if the animal is running, I focus where it’s pushing on its tendon. And it’s important to leave something unsaid. I only include the things that make the piece credible. This is what works for me, what makes me happy.”

Sherry Salari Sander’s work is represented by Big Horn Gallery in Cody, Wyoming; Keating Fine Art in Aspen, Colorado; Kneeland Gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho; Meyer Gallery in Park City, Utah; Settlers West Gallery in Tucson, Arizona; and Trailside Gallery in Jackson, Wyoming, and Scottsdale, Arizona. 

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