Painter Melanie Rose has long been familiar with the landscape of the South Downs Way, but in 2019 she walked the paths entirety, from Eastbourne to Winchester, drawing, photographing, and writing as she went.
At the same time, she collated a unique collection of images of the path, from pre-1750 to the present day. She returned to her studio and produced an extensive body of paintings, through which she explores echoes of the past through contemporary painting, including themes such as tracks, traces, paths, and tumuli.
Her work invites questions as to whether it is possible to re-envision the landscape of the South Downs in a contemporary painterly idiom. Her paintings also raise questions for the present and future of the area, in terms of access, biodiversity, farming practices and stewardship, arguments sourced, witnessed and explored through walking and painting.