Outdoor art for indoor opening

Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery is due to reopen on 18 May 2021 after being closed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic – subject to government guidance. 

The Gallery will open with a major new exhibition by celebrated British painter Kurt Jackson, whose passion for nature and commitment to the environment are central to his work. This new exhibition, Biodiversity, will display works seen for the first time, highlighting important issues around biodiversity.

Kurt Jackson, Taxonomy of a Cornish foreshore, 2018

Prior to the Gallery reopening, the Biodiversity exhibition has launched online. People can view and buy all of the exhibition artworks at www.victoriagal.org.uk/biodiversity.  

The Gallery is delighted to be working once again with Jackson, one of the UK’s most exciting and thought-provoking landscape artists. He first exhibited at the Gallery in 2004 with Two Woods, then subsequently with River Avon Parts 1 & 2, and in 2015-16 with Place.

A dedicated environmentalist and true polymath, Jackson’s holistic approach to his subject seamlessly blends art and politics, providing a springboard to create a hugely varied body of work unconstrained by format or scale.

Jackson’s focus on the complexity, diversity and fragility of the natural world has led to artist-in-residencies on the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, at the Eden Project, and for nearly 20 years at Glastonbury Festival which has become a staple of his annual working calendar.

Jackson’s artistic practice ranges from his trademark visceral plein-air sessions to studio work and embraces an extensive range of materials and techniques including mixed media, large canvases, printmaking and sculpture.

Biodiversity will feature works made in a variety of different locations reflecting their own specific biodiversity. Some will have a huge range of life forms, some will be barren, some will be dominated by nature, and some will be ‘man made’.

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

Kurt Jackson with Glastonbury’s Michael Eavis at a Victoria Gallery opening a couple of years ago.

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. Depending on each occasion I am struck by the beauty, complexity, richness or paucity; the small differences and subtle variations, the losses and rarities and sometimes unfortunately the bland barrenness. 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.”

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We’re delighted to be reopening the Victoria Art Gallery with this stunning exhibition by Kurt Jackson, exploring important issues about biodiversity. This theme fits in well with the Council priorities of tackling the climate and biological emergencies that we currently face as a society. We look forward to welcoming local residents and visitors back to the Gallery and, depending on Covid-19 restrictions at the time, we will put appropriate measures in place to ensure that people can have a safe and enjoyable visit.”

With a series of paintings, sculptures and mixed media works the exhibition will aim to show what an amazingly biodiverse world we still live in, how this is changing and how our existence depends on it.

Biodiversity is generously sponsored by Wessex Water. The show is accompanied by a fully illustrated book.

About Kurt Jackson

The son of artists, Jackson was born in Blandford, Dorset in 1961. While studying Zoology at Oxford University he spent most of his time painting and attending courses at Ruskin College of Art. On gaining his degree he travelled extensively and independently, painting wherever he went before putting down roots in Cornwall with his wife Caroline in 1984.

They live and work in the most westerly town in England, St Just-in-Penwith, where in 2015 they set up the Jackson Foundation. He has an Honorary Doctorate [DLitt] from Exeter University and is an Honorary Fellow of St Peter’s College, Oxford University for his service to the Arts.