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Desmond Family Canoe Trail
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Kurt Jackson’s paintings return again and again to the same location. Now he’s asked poets, scientists and authors to do the same.
Painter Kurt Jackson has spent his life making artworks about the places he knows intimately, whether that’s paintings of the Cornish coast, or as artist in residence at Glastonbury. For his new exhibition and book he asked friends and authors to write about a place they know and love, and then visited each location to paint it.
“Everyone has a link to somewhere special,” he says. “For this project, I turned my normal methods of working upside down and looked for a more unsystematic way in order to relinquish control and to funnel new sources into my working practice; broadening my access into the landscape, opening up new potential avenues and venues for my work”.
Contributors include zoologist Lord John Krebs, poet Alice Oswald and Richard Mabey, author of classic nature books including ‘Food For Free’ and ‘The Ash And The Beech’.
The painting that depicts Richard Mabey’s place shows a section of the Grand Union Canal at Rickmansworth in west London. Mabey writes about Metropolitan Railway publicity brochures from nearly a century ago which boasted about ‘pure air’ and nightingale song in the area. “The nightingales are long gone, and the air rather less than pure,” he writes in the book, “but the riot of wildlife pushing against the urban edges seems to me rather hopeful. It’s neither pugnacious nor pet-like, just possessed of a sublimely indifferent neighbourliness. “Do your best, do your worst, we’ll muck along”.”
The book, which is published this month, is accompanied by a year-long exhibition that visits Southampton City Art Gallery (14/11/14 – 7/3/15), Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, in Spring 2015 and then to the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath in autumn 2015.
Kurt Jackson and contributors. ISBN 978 1 908326 54 6, 265mm x 225mm, 176 pages, with up to 100 illustrations, Softback £25. Publication November 2014.
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