This week, I went to the artist Kurt Jackson’s lecture at the Royal Academy, and then on to the opening of his exhibition, ‘The Stour – From Source To Sea’ at Messums London.
Kurt is a dedicated environmentalist and true polymath. I have been a fan of his work for many years. We also interviewed him in an In Conversation at Ham Yard in 2017, before which you could find him sketching the bees around their hives on the Roof Terrace.
I first met Kurt and his wife, Caroline, when they were guests at Haymarket Hotel. I discovered how they met whilst studying zoology at Oxford University, and how Kurt spent the majority of his time painting by the river rather than at lectures.
I am drawn to the colour, mark making and multimedia nature of his art. The feeling I get from his paintings is that he is a happy person. Through his paintings, he really helps you to experience what he sees and feels around him.
He is passionate about nature, and is concerned about humankind’s good and bad impact on the environment. He has his own wind turbine, and grows his food at his home in the most westerly town in Britain, St Just-in-Penwith.
When designing and running our hotels, we are always trying to be conscious of the environment. You can find out more about our sustainable choices here.
Before his lecture at the RA, Kurt and Caroline spent the morning on ‘the beach’ – the banks of the Thames – sketching and recording the wildlife there.
He truly lives and breathes his work. He has always been fascinated by rivers, and advocated following a river from its source to the sea to discover a country.
Kurt explained, “The river is the lifeblood of the land, the measure of its health. A degraded, polluted river is ultimately an inert and empty thing. Clean and clear, however, it teams with energy and existence.”
“[Rivers] choose their own course: they’re good places to retreat to, to find yourself. A river is the ultimate metaphor for life.”
Kurt blends art and politics. His work has serious messages about the environmental crisis, but this would not be possible if the work was not truly beautiful itself.
‘The Stour – From Source To Sea’ is on at Messums London until 21st December.