Isabelle Abbot



It is by moving through the world that we understand its particularities. Through painting, I investigate the experience of Place, attempting to understand the moment when a location becomes significant and takes up residence in our memories. Place is more than the landscape. It is a site made meaningful by human encounter and appreciation. I use brushes, mark, and color as surveying tools to understand my surroundings, and by doing so I recognize the signifiers of the region and orient myself in that particular landscape. I paint exclusively on site, working quickly to capture the rapidly changing environment around me. The necessity of speed forces honest editing, paring down to capture what is essential: the light, the time of day and season, the lay of the land. Speed also enhances the movement in the painting. The canvas surface opens as I paint, and I follow marks into the picture plane just as I would walk into the landscape: searching for the familiar and by associations making new connections. Paint is the vehicle for this experience. Tactile, rich materials made from natural elements, oil paints are linked to both the land and people. They are simultaneously earthy and fleshy, of nature and ultimately human. Thus they are an appropriate medium to describe the human experience of the landscape. Through painting I translate that experience; the reality of being in the world as opposed to looking out at it. The work develops from following tumbling ground through stands of poplars, studying rock outcroppings sprouting from mountain ridgelines, or cutting across sun baked pastures to set up an easel at the property’s edge. The finished pieces are suggestive, communicating something true, recognizable but unnamable. They hint at a memory: a Place you have been.