Matt Ryder, working on one of his paintings for the art exhibition
Matt Ryder, working on one of his paintings for the Emirates Fine Arts exhibition

Every so often an artist creates an opportunity to put themselves before a new audience, offering up something that has never been seen before. This is the unique situation British artist Matt Ryder finds himself in as he prepares to exhibit five major new paintings in the longest running exhibition of the Emirates (Middle East).

Oil painting of a rocky landscape
Matt Ryder, “Wadi Naqab Rock Fall,” Oil on linen, 90cm x 60cm

More from the announcement:

The prestigious Emirates Fine Arts (EFA) exhibition, which is taking place in the Sharjah Arts Museum, is now in its 37th year and has always looked to improve the standard of art and artists in the country, carefully curating their shows with the development of the cultural landscape in mind.

This will be the first time Ryder, who has lived in the UAE for 13 years, has exhibited with the EFA after being accepted by committee as a member last year. “For several years I have been pushing realism, and in particular landscape painting, as a contemporary art form in the UAE, something that has not always been easy, but is certainly starting to change. I really see this exhibition as a step towards that,” says Ryder.

Oil painting of a canyon
Matt Ryder, “Snake Canyon,” Oil on linen, 120cm x 90cm

The paintings that Ryder is exhibiting are all regional landscapes, highlighting the little-known rugged mountain terrain and desert stillness of the Emirate, which lies just a short drive out of the city. Ryder’s largest painting to date, “Silence in the Valley,” is a real testament to this.

Landscape painting of a valley
Matt Ryder, “Silence in the Valley,” oil on linen, 180cm x 120cm

“I hiked around for an hour or so to reach this spot. It was mid-morning and there was this incredible light, unlike anything I’d encountered in the region. Being the only person for miles around, there was this silence and sense of peace in the air which I knew I had to capture. I did a small plein air study, took some photos and just knew I had something special which would work at a very large scale.”

Oil painting of a rocky landscape
Matt Ryder, “Boulder Stopper,” Oil on linen, 50cm x 70cm
Matt Ryder, plein air painting in the mountains of the UAE
Matt Ryder, plein air painting in the mountains of the UAE

The exhibition will run through May 24, 2021 in the Sharjah Arts Museum, UAE.

See more of Ryder’s work at, and follow him on Instagram: @mattryder.

Listen to Eric Rhoads interview Matt Ryder on the Plein Air Podcast:


> Visit to learn about more opportunities for artists and art collectors, including retreats, international art trips, art conventions, and more.

> Sign up to receive Fine Art Today, our free weekly e-newsletter

> Subscribe to Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, so you never miss an issue


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here