“Here in Wiltshire between Fonthill Bishop and Fonthill Gifford my maternal Grandparents settled pre-war to make a home and raise their family. The estate provided a house and employment. Amongst these gentle sloping fields, between the mature woodlands and around the lake my mother and her siblings took their first steps. The Fonthill Brook flows out of this lake as a clear chalk stream, channelled between banks of limestone, under and between dark alders and vertical reeds. The glinting flinty bed with its flowering flowing crowfoot and the watercress providing cover for trout and native crayfish. Kingfishers hunt here, caddis flies dance, all seems bucolic, as it should be.” Kurt Jackson, 2019
Kurt Jackson has for a long time been a champion of the environmental movement. Whilst his paintings, with their range of media and texture and their three dimensionality, are clear calls to experience the physicality of the world first hand – to get in there amongst it all, to realise that this landscape – so threatened as rivers so constantly are, is essential to life and to living. Like all the best landscape artists, Jackson helps us realise that nature isn’t something else, something distinct and different from us – it is a part of us.
For this exhibition – the second of a two-part show that opens at Messums London in December 2019 – Jackson traces the origins of his second river and the northern parts of the Cranborne Chase ecosystem where the River Nadder springs and begins its descent into Salisbury. Following the course of the Fonthill Brook, a mere one-hundred yards from Messums Wiltshire where these paintings will be shown, Jackson has produced a body of work that highlights a place of coincidence, crossed paths, rediscovery and return, and reveal ‘a glorious  nature-filled watercourse, [and] a fragile precious habitat that deserves our continuing respect.’
Jackson’s paintings acknowledge areas of rich biodiversity in an attempt to warrant their preservation. He captures bucolic scenes such as those of the glinting flinty bed of the river, with its flowering flowing crowfoot; the watercress that provides cover for trout and native crayfish; and the caddis flies that dance on the surface of the water. His practice involves both ‘plein air’ painting and studio work and embraces an extensive range of materials and techniques including mixed media, large canvases, printmaking and sculpture. For these exhibitions, painting on the shade of the riverbank, he has perfectly captured these two watercourses – a testament to the art of observation, as well as a celebration of – and dedication to – the natural environment and its vulnerability.
“Kurt Jackson is an artist who has dedicated his career to exploring and recording our fragile landscape as it changes over time. This interest in change includes not only an awareness of the subtle gradations of light, mood and weather that makes him such a perceptive painter. He also possesses a passionate awareness of – and concern for – the more fundamental nature of humankind’s impact (for good and ill) upon the natural world: ecological evolution, variations in land use, habitat loss, conservation, preservation.” David Boyd Haycock