5 December – 2 January
An exhibition of paintings by Kurt Jackson, one of Britain’s leading environmental landscape artists and campaigners, documents the spring of 2020 and the arcadia he found bursting into life immediately outside his front door in a remote part of west Cornwall during the challenging period of national lockdown.
Jackson’s inaugural show at Messums Yorkshire focuses on paintings of trees that he and his wife, Caroline, planted twenty years ago and that have, over time, formed hollow ‘greenways’ or paths in the interstices between the lines of planting, along which he walked every day from his house to his studio.
The tunnels, laced with the play of light and shade, are groves of wildflowers, insects and birds that Jackson celebrates in his paintings.
‘The tragedy of the beginning of the pandemic collided with one of the most magnificent springs I can remember,’ said Jackson. ‘Lots of people reassessed their immediate surroundings and Nature was a helping hand to get through those difficult times.’
‘There was a sudden dawning of absolute delight and real appreciation with this newly wooded habitat during the lockdown’ he added. ‘It was proof of nature’s health-giving potential, of mental well-being given by seeing that green light cascading down; hearing the bird song and seeing the understory of wildflowers.’
Jackson and his wife transformed the scrubland surrounding his house in St Just, Penwith by planting trees and trying to live in as sustainable way as possible. Through his painting, he has supported many environmental causes; he was artist in residence on the Greenpeace ship, Esperanza and at the Eden Project and he is an ambassador for Survival International and frequently works with Friends of the Earth.