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Biodiversity – Kurt Jackson

I met the artist, Kurt Jackson, at Haymarket Hotel many years ago and now I am a fan for life. He is completely authentic, a true polymath and a dedicated environmentalist. He puts no boundaries on himself when creating work, often working in plein-air and using an extensive range of materials and techniques.

A country girl at heart, I treasure his paintings which are so evocative of the natural world, often annotated by the written word and adorned with raw plant material from the wild.

We spoke about his studies of Zoology at Oxford University and sketch book in hand, it became obvious that he paints and sketches wherever he goes. His work is uplifting, a celebration and dedication to the environment, focussing on the complexity, diversity and fragility of the natural world.

Kurt Jackson’s latest exhibition ‘Biodiversity’, shows us what an amazingly biodiverse world we live in, how this is changing and how our existence depends on it.

Jackson believes all these life forms have the same entitlement to live as we do and are all individually fascinating and extraordinary organisms in their own right. He hopes that by raising awareness of biodiversity, we can appreciate it and then conserve it.

A30 traffic between two of the Four Burrows,2019. Evidence that Kurt Jackson really does paint wherever he goes!

Kurt Jackson says, “Daily, during my time spent making art outdoors, I notice the life around me – the plants and animals that share these places with me. When I start to focus on the minutiae of my surroundings, that rich tapestry of life above, around and at my feet that coexists in its myriad webs, I become aware of the differences present both in the array of wildlife but also in the numbers between places.”

“I have turned my attention to the biodiversity of our country and made this series of works to reflect this subject matter, not encyclopaedic but each piece results from an engagement with a location or group of animals and plants.”

The natural environment is a constant source of inspiration in our interiors and we are so proud that one painting featured in the exhibition was created from the Haymarket Hotel.

“This is one piece from a large body of work ‘Biodiversity’ that has been made over the last few years. The project aimed to engage with different places and habitats throughout the UK, both urban and rural to see what wildlife (plants and animals) were to be found and seen. I made paintings, collages, sculptures and print making in response to my discoveries.”

(Bio12) Bioblitz of a London street one winter’s day [Haymarket]. 2019 mixed media and collage on board 41 x 41cm

“Haymarket in winter was a place you wouldn’t expect to find a huge variety of wildlife, but there were a few surprises none-the-less. The different species of moss, dependent on the geology, i.e much of the architecture here uses Limestone, some of it quite old. I’m sure in the summer, there would have been a host of other creatures and maybe plants to find.

I also did one of these Bioblitz painting / collages on Vauxhall Bridge road – walking and drawing and identifying the mile or so of roadway. I painted the various life forms on pieces of litter from the gutter, it was a dirty place!”

“In comparison, a Somerset field in summer, in fact even a field in the middle of Glastonbury Festival was a biodiversity hotspot as one would hope.

I also made some huge canvases in rural habitats and listed across the surface the hundreds of species I saw, found or knew lived there.”

‘Biodiversity’ can be viewed online on 29th March and in real life at Victoria Art Gallery in Bath on the 18th of May 2021.

CLICK HERE to watch a short film about ‘Biodiversity’.

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