Clay Country (2021)
Catalogue to accompany Kurt Jackson's 2021/2022 touring exhibition Clay Country.
Kurt Jackson's Clay Country is a body of work centred around Cornwall’s industrial clay mines. Jackson captures the essence of this hidden part of the Cornish landscape, where for centuries clay mining has shaped the culture, heritage and landscape.
For Clay Country, Jackson worked in situ at the Littlejohns clay works, an enormous pit that covers over 500 acres with a circumference of around 15 miles. He observed workers in the pit using massive machines to extract and transport china clay, set in an extraordinary man-made landscape.
The dramatic – and sometimes extreme – variations in the weather inspired a diverse range of drawings and paintings, some created by Jackson as he perched on the edge of the pit or down in the depths of the mine. The new works range from huge tarpaulin-sized canvases to small intimate studies, all completed on site. At times, clay and stone were mixed into the paint, creating new textures to the work.
China clay has been mined in Cornwall for at least two hundred and fifty years and is an ingredient in our everyday lives; it appears in paper, light bulbs, toothpaste and plastics. The porcelain works at Royal Worcester depended on clay from Cornish mines, so creating an industrial link between Worcester and Cornwall that survived for centuries. Unglazed ceramic pieces found in excavations at Royal Worcester Porcelain will feature in this exhibition, alongside Jackson’s paintings.
Kurt Jackson has a long-standing interest in Cornwall’s mining industry and for the last twenty years he has explored the geological workplace as a source for making art. His artwork ranges from his trademark plein-air sessions to studio work, and embraces an extensive range of materials and techniques including mixed media, large canvases, print-making, the written word and sculpture. A dedicated environmentalist, Jackson’s holistic approach to his subject seamlessly blends art and politics. Kurt Jackson lives and works in the most-westerly town in Britain, St Just-in-Penwith, which is also home to the Jackson Foundation Gallery.
“These paintings show the other side to Cornwall, the less glamorous, industrial side. From the ‘washing’ of the clay from the face with high pressure monitors, to the pumping, the blasting of the rock and breaking and transportation, all became subject matter to the apparent tiny figures and machines working in this vast open air pit, the aquamarine pools, the white pits and sky tips. – Kurt Jackson
Kurt Jackson: Clay Country was previously exhibited at Wheal Martyn Museum, Cornwall and Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, Worcestershire. It is currently on show at the Jackson Foundation, St Just, Cornwall until August 13 2022.
- 48 pages
- over 45 illustrations
- Two poems and a foreward by Kurt Jackson
- Introductions by Sir Tim Smit (Eden Project) and Ashely Shopland (UK Director IMERYS)
- 22 x 22cm
* Unless otherwise requested, this item will be signed by Kurt Jackson.
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