Sholto Blissett’s paintings, which focus on exploring and questioning the notion of wilderness and boundaries, have been exhibited in galleries in London.
For many, wilderness is the last remaining place where civilization has not fully intruded. Regarded in this way, wilderness exists as a finite notion, the best antidote to our human selves, an isle in the contaminated sea of modernity; a refuge.
But is it. This is the central question of Sholto’s work.
With a degree in Geography (University of Durham), and having travelled extensively from the Arctic to the Far East, Sholto believes the more one knows of the history of wilderness, the more it becomes evident that wilderness is not a finite concept. His works instead explore wilderness as a cultural product arising out of the assumption that humans and nature are separate. They also investigate the boundaries between the self and the rest of nature.
Stylistically, Sholto’s work draws from the painters of the Sublime, while simultaneously contradicting much of their understanding of wilderness. He manipulates wilderness scenes, examining the human projection of fantasy and timelessness onto non-human, or less human, landscapes that underpin the notion of wilderness.
Sholto’s paintings resonate with many who have an interest in landscape and culture. Author of The Old Ways, The Wild Places and Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane, Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, has written in response to Sholto’s work:
“I like the collision of memory, fantasy and topo-reality: …. modest human interventions, records of route and story, but acknowledgement of the sublime. And I like, too, [Sholto’s] smudging of date as well as place; one thinks of Turner and de Loutherbourg, yes, but there is also a modern and distinctive idiom visibly at work.”