Artist Kurt Jackson’s Campaigning Environmental Work Showcased at Dovecot

To coincide with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this year, Edinburgh’s Dovecot Studios announces a new exhibition  entitled Mermaids’ Tears fromcelebrated British landscape artist Kurt Jacksonthat highlights the damaging impact of plastic on our beaches and in the marine environment. Opening 2 October 2021, Mermaids’ Tears is the first exhibition in Scotland to chart Jackson’s campaigning work to address the blight of plastics in the ocean.

Featuring over 20 remarkable paintings, this important exhibition draws attention to the need to prevent resin pellets or nurdles from plastic manufacturing (colloquially known as mermaids’ tears) from polluting the environment. At the centre of the exhibition is a new textile commission made by Dovecot in collaboration with Jackson, that features plastic collected by the artist from beaches near his home.

Jackson has collaborated with environmental charities and pressure groups such as Surfers Against Sewage, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Wildlife Trusts and his most recent work highlights the need to stem the flow of plastic into the UK’s oceans, waves and beaches for all to enjoy safely and sustainably.

The Dovecot Commission interprets ‘Mermaids’ Tears’, a painting made by Jackson in 2016 for the pressure group Surfers Against Sewage. The plastic pieces embedded in the original painting have enabled Dovecot to experiment using plastic, debris and string fibres collected by Jackson and which point to the devastating effects of plastic pollution in our seas.

Dovecot’s constructed textile specialist Louise Trotter has worked with Kurt Jackson to achieve a sensitive balance of colour and texture. The contrast between the fishing rope and wool, the traditional and sustainable fibre used in rug making, powerfully illustrates the incursion of plastics into the natural environment.

Alongside the Dovecot Commission, this timeous exhibition includes a selection of paintings spanning the last 25 years in which Jackson has actively collaged the jetsam and flotsam of the sea into the picture surfaces, some of which will be exhibited publicly for the first time in the UK.

Director of Dovecot Celia Joicey says, “It is a privilege to showcase Kurt Jackson’s superb and arresting paintings at Dovecot during COP26 in Scotland. Not only is Jackson recognised as one of the UK’s most radical artists working in nature, but the world has gradually embraced his concern for our environment in ways that make his art ever more prescient.”

To coincide with the exhibition is a major new monograph, The Sea,  by author Julian Spalding who says, “Kurt Jackson’s art is genuinely radical. It is an intrinsic part of his wider, awareness-changing agenda. Jackson’s art makes actual the brightness of seeing clearly, moments of heightened consciousness, vital both for science and for art.”

From 2nd October – 5th February 2022 Free access Mon – Fri 12 – 3, Sat 10 – 5

A curator talk and tour will take place on Friday 5th November at 11am.  Booking required.

Irene Brown

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