David Abbott


I wrote the following artist statement and proposal for my (unsuccessful) Rabbit Island Residency application. There were character limits of 800 and 1000 respectively, hence all the ampersands. I'm naturally verbose so the limits were hard. But as with all limits they definitely sharpened the outcome. Ultimately pleased with how these words encapsulated my practice.

Artist statement

I work from personal experience, muddling visions of the present with hazy recollections to explore memory & place using landscape as my medium.

Our cultural, personal & folk histories are woven into the land and record how landscapes imprint on our souls connecting us with tides of deep time. In the face of ecological crisis landscapes reflect our attitudes towards stewardship, conservation & access whilst offering us apposite lessons in impermanence & resilience.

My paintings – often in conjunction with writings – awaken real & imagined pasts and draw inspiration from local landscapes, flora, fauna, the cycle of seasons and folklore. My paintings are ever-change landscapes that flicker between recognition & unknowing, resilience & fragility: Composite visions of place, memory & myth.


My residency on Rabbit Island would explore how we transform land into landscape through creative acts. It would challenge my practice by testing how landscapes of home travel with us & the ways in which we absorb & interpret new places.

Through drawing, painting & writing I would combine fieldwork, observation & imagination to make work that examines how the island ecology connects to ecologies of memory & what we carry of other lived & remembered scapes to a pristine place such as RI. Interpreting landmarks into marks on paper, connecting to marks of memory, asking how distinct landscapes connect & what physical & psychological bridges exist between distant points on the map.

With wilderness under threat land feels increasingly bygone: Landscapes a cautionary tale of loss requiring remembrance & imagination. My work would explore how landscape forms within us, valuable not as exploitable asset but as agent of imagination – ultimately how we come to understand & remember ourselves.

Supporting work

As well as the text from A Certain Day

April 26, 2023

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