Daniel Ablitt: ‘Seeking Light’ at Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Oxford

Daniel Ablitt: ‘Seeking Light’ at Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Oxford

Saturday 3 – Friday 23 September

In his first solo exhibition at Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Daniel Ablitt presents a new collection of his compelling, dream-like landscapes…

Daniel Ablitt studied Fine Art in Edinburgh and now works from his studio in Bristol. Ablitt’s paintings are found in numerous private collections and his former exhibition credits include the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize exhibition at Mall Galleries. 

His paintings are depictions of half-remembered and part-imagined places. They are inspired by his travels and memories, delving into his own personal mythology but with an imagery that speaks to everyone.

To Ablitt, the landscape represents a profound world of relationships between our environment, our memories of it and our own identity. The dream-like paintings do not set out to record a likeness of a particular location; instead, they seek to engage with the intrinsic effect it has upon us. 

In his work, 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 nature of the light in Ablitt’s landscapes is inextricably linked to our recollection of it.

Small, quiet figures are also placed within the landscape, hinting at a suggested narrative. The artist 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, Ablitt’s positioning of the figures seems 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. 

In his latest body of work, Ablitt has moved away from painting on canvas to working on large panels. Without the fear of damaging the surface, he is free to explore unconventional tools and new ways of mark making have emerged in his work. For example, sometimes elements of the composition are simply scored into the layered paint, bringing out the colour beneath. Large areas of colour, often a dark ink-blue or soft sepia-brown, contrast with fine brushwork – highlighting details such as the branches of trees, a boat or little houses. 

Visitors to the exhibition 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. 

Sarah Wiseman Gallery, now in its 18th year, is Oxford’s largest independent gallery space with a reputation for showing the best of established and emerging talent. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am–5:30pm, and on Monday from 10am–4pm.    

Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Summertown, Oxford: 01865 515123 / OX2 7JL / wisegal.com

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