26 August 2021

There are just a few days left for visitors to see an exciting exhibition by contemporary artist Kurt Jackson at Wheal Martyn.

Inspired by his time at Littlejohns Clay Works in Cornwall, the ‘Clay County’ exhibition is on display in our new gallery space until 5 September. Access to the exhibition is free, as part of the normal museum admission fee.

Colin Vallance, Director of Wheal Martyn, said, “Our museum tells the story of Cornwall’s china clay mining industry, making it the perfect place to display Kurt Jackson’s exciting new work. We’re delighted to be able to give our visitors the opportunity to see these magnificent artworks, inspired by an industry which has had an impact on so many people and is very much alive today. Thousands of people have already enjoyed the exhibition and we look forward to welcoming more over the final week.”

Jackson’s work is fuelled by a long standing interest in Cornwall’s extractive industry and its role in shaping the physical landscape, culture and heritage of Cornwall. His creativity was sparked by observing the workers in the pit as they extracted and transported the china clay in this extraordinary man-made landscape. The dramatic weather variations inspired a diverse range of drawings and paintings; in some cases Kurt incorporated the clay and stone itself into his art. The exhibition includes new mixed media paintings, from huge tarpaulin-sized canvases to small intimate studies, as well as a number of ceramic pieces. 

Our new gallery and adjoining learning and activity space have been created as part of our ‘Clay Works’ project, which has given new life to the historic Mica Dry, a designated Scheduled Ancient Monument, and also created a programme of activities and volunteering opportunities. The project has been generously supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, Cornwall Council, Arts Council England, The Pilgrim Trust, The Wolfson Foundation, Historic England, Imerys Minerals Ltd, Pennon Environmental Fund, Cornwall Heritage Trust and the Hobson Charity.