The landscape represents to Daniel a profound world of relationships between our environment, our memories of it and our personal identity. Daniel’s compelling, dream-like paintings do not set out to record a likeness of a particular location, rather he seeks to engage with the intrinsic effect it has on us as human beings.
To Daniel, the nature of the light in a landscape is inextricably linked to our recollection of it. In his paintings the viewer may find bright, dappled sunlight as seen through the woods, the opaque flatness of daylight on a cloudy day, starlight in the night sky or a glimmering light in a window glimpsed from a distance. The light in his paintings takes on a visionary quality; tiny, glowing orbs may appear in the landscape, giving the scene an aspect of magical realism, perhaps reflecting a sense of nostalgia or depth of feeling for the fleeting moment captured.
Small, quiet figures are placed within the landscape, hinting at a suggested narrative and inviting us to form an emotional connection with the composition. Daniel explains: “I’m looking to draw the viewer into the paintings, to take them on a personal journey into their own memories or into imagined possibilities.” In some paintings, Daniel’s positioning of the figures seem to heighten the sense of reflection as they are depicted in the foreground with their back turned towards the viewer, looking into the landscape along with us. These moments of perfect stillness is a theme to which Daniel is increasingly drawn: “I am finding more often that I am searching for a place of peace in the work. A contemplation.”
In his latest body of work, Daniel has moved away from painting on canvas to working on large panels. Without the fear of damaging the surface, Daniel is free to explore unconventional tools and new ways of mark making have emerged in his work. For exmple, sometimes elements of the composition are simply scored into the layered paint, bringing out the colour beneath to the surface. Large areas of colour, often a dark ink-blue or soft sepia-brown, contrast with fine brushwork which brings out details such as the branches of trees, a boat or little houses. His artistic process is reductive in nature as the paint is often stripped back to create a stained, indistinct and tenebrous effect.
Visitors to the gallery can expect to see facets of the city beginning to find their way into his work. A recent stay in Iceland has also influenced this latest collection. Daniel’s paintings are depictions of half-remembered and part-imagined places, inspired by his travels and memories, delving into his own personal mythology but with an imagery that speaks to all of us.
Daniel Ablitt studied Fine Art in Edinburgh and his work is found in numerous private collections. His former exhibition credits include the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize exhibition at Mall Galleries. Daniel works from his studio in Bristol at Jamaica Street Artists.