This environment that surrounds me, and in which I feel safe, is a landscape of life captured in paint,” says John Maxwell-Steele.

“Surrounded by green spaces, allowed to roam free... I know this territory well. The field’s flat surface shows the boundaries of land with the evidence that shaped it.”

Maxwell-Steele is a landscape painter of note. A former finalist in the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year competition, he has exhibited at the Birmingham Museum and Art gallery and The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

The Birmingham-born artist is currently showing his work at the Brian Sinfield Gallery in Burford – his second exhibition at the prestigious exhibition space – one of the most notable outside London for contemporary painting and among the longest established in the Cotswolds.

The show launches on Sunday and runs through to October 26.

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Maxwell-Steele’s landscapes are abstract yet instantly recognisably very British – particularly in their depiction of the rich textures of our complicated, multi-faceted countryside, and ever-changing skies, weather and, as a result, mood.

“I would like to think that I belong to a generation of British artists who continue to explore the possibilities of paint on canvas,” he says.

Oxford Mail:

“My paintings are created through distinct layers of colour and a process of addition and subtraction, sometimes removing sections of paint from the canvas’s surface with water and sanding back, in an attempt to emulate on the surface of my paintings the effects of time on the landscape, to leave traces of what was there before.

“I love the unpredictable aspect of removing the painted surface. For me it is all about allowing something that is beyond my control to come through. Using this method of subtraction has seemed to establish a vocabulary in the form of distinctive groups of paintings, which evolve concurrently.

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“The shifts that appear from one painting to the next can be dramatic, but each new painting builds on those that have gone before in a subtle, but constant, progression.

“The imagery is a mixture of memory and remembrance, a suggestion or a hint of something by impressions appearing or uncovering something forgotten.

“It is the incidental or even the accidental elements within a painting that the viewer is drawn to; a landscape in flux.

Oxford Mail:

“I work on several paintings at one time, allowing me to transport specific ideas and techniques from painting to painting.”

Gallery director Miranda Marks said: “John’s work is very exciting and this exhibition has been three years in the making. We are looking forward to this stunning exhibition.”

She added: “One is tempted to eulogise about John’s painting without end, but essentially these are the artist’s emotive response to landscape, his poetry, if you like, through which he attempts to trigger a response in the viewer, to share in his passion. The beauty here is that the viewer is free to interpret the paintings themselves.

Oxford Mail:

“It is tempting to search for influences or to bracket his work into one pigeon hole or another. Is this impressionism, abstraction (after all it is non-representational), or some other ‘ism’? For the most part these paintings are linear in structure which allows great scope for an artist. Paul Nash exploited this linear plane in his ‘Winter Sea’ now in the York City Art Gallery and Bomberg used it in his Bideford Bay, 1946 in the Laing, but perhaps it has a closer affinity to that of the work of Len Tabner and David Tress. But all this is academic; Maxwell-Steele’s work stands on its own merit. It has strength and beauty and great appeal.”

John Maxwell-Steele is at The Brian Sinfield Gallery, Burford, from Sunday until October 26. Gallery opening times: Tuesday – Saturday, 9.30am-5pm