A Master of Sfumato:Johan Abeling

CK Contemporary
Aug 5, 2016 7:31PM

Johan Abeling’s paintings radiate with a mysterious atmosphere. They are both minutely detailed and yet obscured by a pervasive mist that envelopes his scenes. He prefers to paint the expansive Northern Dutch landscape, where he is fascinated by the emptiness and the silence, sometimes inserting old Dutch-style villas, gates, or border fences as the only sign of human presence. Though he borrows from reality, Abeling combines the natural elements of his native land to create a world present in his imagination alone. 

In that way, his paintings serve not only as a haven for himself as an artist, but as a respite from the outside world for us all. He states that, “It’s the atmosphere, the feelings evoked, playing with composition and light. My paintings are the true personalities each with a personal story and emotion. One can also see them as a moment of respite in a turbulent world where there is almost no time for contemplation. But there is also a disorienting quality in the quiet.” 

Abeling could easily be considered a master of sfumato, a technique of overlapping several layers of transparent paint and softening tones and outlines so the look of diffused and filtered light is created. This technique was first applied by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century, and Abeling uses it to increase the mysterious effect in his paintings with extraordinary skill. 

Abeling has exhibited internationally for over 30 years, and his paintings can be found in several prominent private and public collections, including the Museum De Buitenplaats, the Eelde Museum of Lien, and the Drents Museum in Assen. 

CK Contemporary