Art in the : The Natural Abstractions of Chris Sauer | Art & Theater


In this month’s exhibition at the Napa Library, Chris Sauer shares the beauty he’s found in nature with photos he calls “natural abstractions,” which invite the viewer to see his subjects in ways they’ve never seen them before have seen before.

Rocks sticking out of the water appear to be in the clouds. Humble grasses and tumbleweeds are ennobled. Flowers and trees can look like watercolors.

Retired from a career in environmental remediation, Sauer’s photographic focus is often on landscapes.

An outdoorsman, he wanders nationally and internationally in search of what fascinates him, often waiting for the perfect moment when the lighting is at its best.

“This photo on metal is of the Iguazú Falls in Argentina,” Sauer said, pointing to a dramatic waterfall during a library interview last week. “It is one of the 10 natural wonders of the world.”

Sauer has traveled to many countries. Three weeks after he and his wife Bonnie were married, the Peace Corps dispatched them to Saanopu, Western Samoa. They lived in a thatched hut for two and a half years while teaching English to teenagers.

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Although Sauer had a “nice Nikon camera as a wedding present,” there are no photos from her Peace Corps days in this exhibit.

“You had to send film to New Zealand and it took months to get the pictures back and I hadn’t developed my technical photography skills yet,” he explained.

Upon returning to the United States, Sauer took a job as an English teacher but felt “stifled about teaching in a classroom” and started a landscape business that led to a 30-year career as a Bay Area manager for the California Conservation Corps.

Sauer’s work included teaching others about planting and nursery management, as well as leading teams in planting in areas where there was a need, e.g. B. in places burned by fires.

The couple moved to Napa in 1978 and raised their son and daughter there.

Along with former Napa Valley Unified School District Superintendent John Glaser and his wife Carol, Sauer and his wife co-owned Napa Sunrise Montessori.

“We had kids at school,” Sauer said. “Bonnie was certified in Montessori and was a principal. We had a whole workforce deployed.”

Sauer is a member of the Napa Photographic Society. This is his third photo exhibition at the library. Each year, 12 applicants are selected during an annual art call to exhibit their work for a month. In previous exhibits, Sauer focused on water and architecture in their “many evolutionary stages”.

“I point my camera at anything that moves or doesn’t move, and I click the shutter as long as it’s a little up to my imagination,” Sauer said. “I like to examine the world around me.”

The opening reception for Sauer’s photo exhibit at the Napa County Library will be on Friday, April 8 from 6:15-7:30 p.m. Registration is required to participate. Register at

Wearing masks is not required but recommended. The library is located at 580 Coombs St., Napa.

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