Growing up in London, Rosie Sherwood was always inspired by nature. But it was not until her mother moved to the South West a decade ago that she truly began to appreciate the positive influence of being close to the coast.
“When you’re by the sea you instantly feel better, stronger,” said Rosie, artist in residence at the University of Plymouth’s Marine Institute. “But nowadays, it comes with anxieties around climate change and if we’re not careful, human actions could start to take the positives away.”
That is the overriding aim of her new exhibition An Ever Moving Now, which will be on show free to the public at the University’s Marine Station.
Taking place on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 June, it features a mixture of black and white photography and abstract sculpture designed to connect visitors with our collective love of the coastline.
The project addresses Rosie’s personal experiences, memories and sensations of being embedded in nature but also connects to broader concepts of wildness, conservation through rewilding, and shifting baselines.
To create the work, Rosie undertook immersive, multi-day hikes along the South West Coast Path armed with her camera and a bag to carry some of her more interesting finds.
She then used those items and memories to create pieces in her studio in Kingsbridge, where she also develops the pictures in a traditional dark room.
The resulting exhibition aims to reveal the beauty of our coastline and the objects found along it, but also to raise awareness of what we are in danger of losing if we don’t take the warnings around climate change seriously.
As part of her residency, Rosie has worked closely with many of the University’s world-leading experts in marine conservation and policy.
It has given her an informed insight into the challenges facing our coastline, and how science and art might be able to combine to help us protect it in the future.
“If you said to me a couple of years ago that I would be creating a politically and socially driven project about our coast – which is how I see this work – I would have laughed. It started out very much as a personal journey but it has moved to being an exploration of our collective relationship with both the coast path and the oceans, and the role we have in ensuring that relationship endures now and in the future.”