“Mermaids’ tears seem to be pertinent as a metaphor for our entire treatment and attitude to the environment at large and indeed for climate change itself. I paint the sea, her ways and guises, her manners and moods, as metaphor and topographical seascape. I see the pollution daily.”

Kurt Jackson.

Mermaids’ Tears is a new exhibition centred around a textile commission by world-renowned Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh. 

This is the first exhibition in Scotland to chart Kurt Jackson’s efforts to address the blight of plastic in the ocean, and draws attention to the resin pellets or nurdles from plastic manufacturing (known as mermaids’ tears) that pollute the environment.

Dovecot was Commissioned to interpret ‘Mermaid’s Tears’, a painting made by Jackson in 2016 for the pressure group Surfers Against Sewage. The nurdles embedded in the original painting have enabled Dovecot to experiment using plastic, debris and string fibres collected by Jackson and which point to the devastating effects of plastic pollution in our seas. Dovecot’s constructed textile specialist Louise Trotter (pictured) has worked with Kurt Jackson to achieve a sensitive balance of colour and texture. The contrast between the fishing rope and wool (the traditional and sustainable fibre used in rug making) powerfully illustrates the incursion of plastics into the natural environment.

The collaboration between the Jackson and Dovecot will be shown in Edinburgh at the same time as COP 26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties taking place in Glasgow on 31 October–12 November 2021.

Alongside the Dovecot Commission, this timely exhibition includes a selection of paintings spanning the last 25 years in which Jackson has actively collaged the jetsam and flotsam of the sea into the picture surfaces, some of which will be exhibited publicly for the first time in the UK.

Celia Joicey, Director of Dovecot, says: “It is a privilege to showcase Kurt Jackson’s superb and arresting paintings at Dovecot during COP 26 in Scotland. Not only is Jackson recognised as one of the UK’s most radical artists working in nature, but the world has gradually embraced his concern for our environment in ways that make his art ever more prescient.”

Julian Spalding, author of The Sea (2021) a major new monograph on Jackson launched to coincide with the exhibition, writes: ‘Kurt Jackson’s art is genuinely radical. It is an intrinsic part of his wider, awareness-changing agenda. Jackson’s art makes actual the brightness of seeing clearly, moments of heightened consciousness, vital both for science and for art.’

Kurt Jackson: Mermaids’ Tears  – Solo Exhibition
October 2nd 2021 – February 5th 2022.
Dovecot Studios
10 Infirmary Street
Edinburgh, EH1 1LT.

Works from this exhibition are available to purchase.
Please contact info@kurtjackson.com for enquires.