C O M P L I C I T   G E O G R A P H I E S

Jeannette Unite

22 October – 22 January
Open Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm
Innovation Centre, University of Exeter, EX44RN


CCANW – Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World presents

Jeannette Unite’s installation of ‘geo-seam’ mineral strata paintings made in response to the William Smith’s archives and Smith’s 1815 geological map of England and Wales.

Jeannette Unite’s installation commemorates the 200 year anniversary of William ‘Strata’ Smith’s 1815 geological soil map of England. These paintings incorporate embedded text from Smith’s archive at Oxford University and are made with the very minerals that he described in this pioneering strata map.

For Unite, the black coal from Wales, the tin from Cornwall and white chalk from Dover and iron, tin, lead, zinc, copper and even fossils, reference Great Britain’s geology, geography and politics, as well as social and industrial history on a globalised scale. Her lavishly mineral-painted surfaces made from raw ore and pigments appear as a cross-section of sediment inserted into the architectural space.

COMPLICIT GEOGRAPHIES will launch its tour at CCANW (Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World) and continue around England, Southern Africa and Germany as part of the United Nations’ Year of Soil and the British Geological Society’s Year of Mud.

Please join us for an opening event on the 22nd October at 18:00,  University of Exeter. RSVP for Catering.

• Date & Time: 22 October 2015- 22 January 2016, Monday to Friday 08:30-17:30
• Location: Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, Innovation Centre, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, EX4 4RN


William Smith canal and land surveyor, engineer, hydrologist, geo-technician, is as important to geology as Charles Darwin is to natural history. Geology, the science behind mining, assists in identifying economic minerals hidden in the subterranean layers.

The carboniferous coal seams were of interest to Smith as coal fuelled the industrial revolution that began in Britain and underpinned ‘the scramble for African minerals.

Jeannette Unite is a contemporary South African artist who has for the past two decades focused her practice on mining, minerals and Earth matters. She has consulted earth scientists, chemists, alchemists and geologists in creating her pieces which are made from raw materials from the Earth. Her “eco-alchemic work” have travelled to many museums, biennales and art galleries internationally and are included in major collections on five continents.

Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW) is a not-for-profit organisation which explores new understandings of our place within Nature through the Arts. It delivers its programmes regionally through partnership working and collaboration, operating from the University of Exeter.