811 Species of Moss in Wales
"811 Species of Moss in Wales"
by Kurt Jackson (2018)
180cm x 200cm, mixed media on linen
Dr Laura Moody: Research
Dr Laura Moody is a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the Department of Plant Sciences.
"One of the most important events in the history of life on Earth was the conquest of land by plants nearly half a billion years ago. The transition from water to land was accompanied by the evolution of three-dimensional (3D) growth, which in turn created new opportunities for land plant diversification. To understand the genetic basis of 3D growth, we study simple, yet remarkable bryophytes -- the mosses, liverworts, and hornworts."
Dr Laura Moody: Response
"This artwork captures how so much biodiversity exists within the bryophytes alone, just one of many plant lineages that green our planet, but my favourite."
Kurt Jackson Q&A
What is the ethos behind Biodiversity, the exhibition?
"As we know, it's called Biodiversity, so that is sort of a reference to this spectrum and variety of life that inhabits our world, and it's come about from a whole host of different reasons.
A lot of my work I make in 'plein air', as in in-situ, outside, and that's when I'm painting and drawing and having this essential, direct engagement with nature – I need that for my inspiration, to make my work. And I also like to be in contact with nature so that nature can almost collaborate with me, and interfere sometimes, but hopefully enhance what I am doing. But when you're spending that much time outdoors – observing, getting down sort of in the dirty, with nature,
as it were – you do notice the life around you. You start to notice the small details that maybe other people don't notice. And even though I have a foundation in Zoology, you know, I studied here at Oxford and got my degree in Zoology;
I have continued to add to that throughout my life with knowledge and awareness and discovery and experience. And it's the plant world, as well as the animal world, with which I'm equally fascinated. But we're living in these times of environmental crisis where everything's changing, everything is potentially under threat, from both our activities and climate change – a combination of the two. Whether it's habitat loss, species loss... all these things are having potentially a huge negative effect on this world we inhabit. And I've always argued that it's only by being aware of the animals and
plants that we share this planet with that we can then hopefully do something about conserving them and conserving this amazing place we live.
So, it's come about that, on one level that I'm fascinated by diversity and by all these different beasties and plants that we find around us – how they fit together, stack up, webs, chains, all that stuff, niches, I just love all that stuff. On another level, I just enjoy the beauty of variety and form and colour, and shape and behaviour and all the rest of it.
And then there's this whole field of concern and worry and anxiety of what's happening to the world. So, I come to this with an artist's head, a semi sort-of scientist's head – I don't call myself a scientist but there's plenty of that
in my head – and then as an environmentalist, someone who is concerned about what's happening to the planet.
So maybe there's three fields that come together in these works I've made."