Mosses and Marshes

A long term project of walks, research and artistic exploration at the Fenn’s Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses NNR, a Ramsar wetlands site lying across the Anglo-Welsh border near Wrexham/North Shropshire.

Full details can be found at:

My work comprises paintings, prints and photography presenting views of the interdependent relationships between humans, the land and its ecosystems. One of the main focal points was the restoration of a former car scrapyard back to wetland habitat. Here I gathered a number of found objects which have inspired several artworks.

Artefacts
Whixall Forms, oil on canvas, 61cm x 61cm

The proposed Mosses and Marshes project spans two countries – the UK and Australia, both with Ramsar listed wetlands of international importance. In 2018, I began working with digital media artist Kim V. Goldsmith (NSW, Australia) as part of the international art programme, Arts Territory Exchange.

With a common interest in environmental issues, we explored how we might create an international project presenting the areas of the Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses (UK) and Macquarie Marshes (Australia) alongside each other.

On the surface, these areas are vastly dissimilar – one is a raised peat bog inundated with water, the other severely impacted by ongoing drought. In addition, the landscape, the issues and management of the Mosses and Marshes all differ in response to their respective climatic and environmental conditions. However, both are natural sites of international significance, and both have an impact on or are impacted by land uses.  

The interpretation of water data for both sites, along with access to them from field trips, provides an opportunity to present these spaces creatively through a new lens, in a way not routinely experienced. This in turns gives managing bodies, and those with an interest in the Mosses and Marshes, a chance to put the spotlight on why they are so important and how they might be managed in future. As Ramsar-listed international wetlands of importance, these sites “are recognized as being of significant value not only for the country or the countries in which they are located, but for humanity as a whole.” Recent events, such as the bush fires across Australia, demonstrate how fragile and vulnerable these landscapes are to climate change.

Kim V. Goldsmith and I will be the lead artists and project coordinators of Mosses & Marshes , working in consultation with the relevant authorities and community, including public and private land managers.

At Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England have been supportive of our proposals to date and willing to permit access to the site for walks, surveys and recordings. The artists will continue to work in partnership with these organisations and other relevant bodies.

The process of developing this project would be via a series of on-site residencies, with the lead artists, consisting of field trips and other events to gather information and material.  In later project phases, it is intended that residencies may be extended to invited artists.