Chatto, who studied English at Oxford in the late 1970’s, after a one-year Art Foundation Course at London’s City and Guilds, is inspired by a love of poetry ranging from early English lyrics to the intimae sensitivity towards nature of the peasant poet John Clare and Andrew Marvell’s sublime wit and ‘deep love and knowledge of the country’.
Daniel Chatto is primarily a painter of landscape. An apostle of unspoilt nature, he favours “the wild, the wind blasted and the epic”. His favourite stamping grounds have been the Western Isles of Islay, Harris, Mull and Iona, the Gower Peninsula and the Preseli Mountains of Pembrokeshire. The part of Sussex he now lives in has a timeless, ancient gravitas that is a feature of all these places. The paintings in this exhibition celebrate the austere beauty of the South Downs. In this series of paintings, Chatto conveys a vision of the spirituality and redemptive power of nature. In ‘Landscape With Oaks’ he marvels at the huge breadth of the trees canopy. “They have adapted to the high winds on the Downs by growing outwards rather than upwards. Though in a way they are stunted, they are powerful and splendid for all that”. ‘Entwined’ expresses this reverence for the forces of life and growth. The work features an oak and a holly tree that have sprouted from the same spot yet have continued to forge upward and thrive. The dynamic urgency and strength of line in this drawing portray so effectively that irrepressible force of growth. ‘Storm Caught in Branches’ celebrates the resilience of a dying tree encompassed in the foliage of one in its prime. The mood is philosophical, optimistic yet accepting of imposed hardship.
Since his last exhibition in 2007, the work has also increased in scale dramatically. “Years ago I worked with large dimensions when I learnt fresco painting with Faith Vincent. Working on something bigger allows me to enter into the painting, to walk around inside it and to worry less about issues like space and recession.” Discovering the huge pieces of khadi paper has enabled Chatto to create large works outside without the encumbrance of an easel and this too has brought a further sense of ease and freedom. “I either sling a rope around a tree and clip the paper to it, or pin it down on the ground so that I can walk around it.”
Please contact Sarah Long, Carolyn Ryle Hodges, or Kinga Grof for further information.
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