Heaton Cooper Exhibition

A new exhibition by a prolific artist with strong links to Cumbria will open at Grasmere’s Heaton Cooper studio in June.
June 5, 2022

Chris Rigby is a multi-award-winning painter whose work has been seen at almost 100 solo and mixed exhibitions during his creative career.

Born in Lancaster and now living at Burton in Lonsdale, Chris originally trained as an illustrator at Falmouth school of Art, Cornwall, during which time he took an interest in the techniques of the Old Masters. He later pursued this interest under the mentoring of Chris Robinson, a graduate of the Royal Academy and a practising artist.

'High Street from Place Fell' (Mixed Media on card)

Since 1999 his many exhibitions have been staged in Dublin, Cornwall, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Shetland, as well as at many London galleries.

Since2011, when he rented a studio in Scalloway for a month, he has been a regular visitor to Shetland. In 2012 he had a major solo exhibition, 30 Days of Light, at the Lerwick Museum and Archives.  Two years later in 2015 the Bonhoga Gallery hosted a second Shetland exhibition, Between Rocks and Hard Places.

'Holloway' (Mixed media on card)

Each year sees a growing body of Shetland based work, but Chris has worked on many Cumbrian subjects, including various music festivals, including Solfest, and he did a series of paintings of performers on stage at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal.

Chris says: “I draw upon a diversity of subject matter from wilderness landscape to the urban landscape to dancers, poets, musicians and the odd comedian as featured in my 2015 exhibition, Performance. Each offers something different to the conversation.  Each informs the others.  It feels like playing in different pools, taking a little water from each to mix in with the next.

”He says that getting “out there” in the elements, painting direct is integral to his working practice. “The information available via the senses is unparalleled by any other means. Simply put, it is the single best way of exploring your subject and your relationship to it.  These experiences  feed into the studio based work.  I'm a figurative painter that believes everything is in essence abstract.  To paint figuratively with any success is to paint abstract.”

Julian Cooper, who will curate the exhibition, said: “The range and breadth of Chris Rigby’s work is tremendous, and we are really excited to be staging a show of his work here. ”The show opens on June 10 for six weeks.

'Side Pike' (Watercolour and gouache)

Chris Rigby has won many awards including:

2018- Lancashire Life Magazine Landscape Painter of the Year.

2014- The Stanley Grimm Memorial Prize, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Mall Galleries, London

2014- The Le Clerc Fowle Medal, Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London

2014- Regional Prize Winner for December Wasp

2013- Shortlisted for National Open

2013- Shortlisted for Threadneedle Prize

2012- First Prize, OPEN UP NORTH Open Exhibition

2012- Commendation from the Judges for OPEN UP NORTH 

Residencies have included

2014- Silverdale Art Trail. Art Cube: Self initiated interactive public art event

2011, 2012 and 2013 - Solfest Music Festival, Cumbria

2005- 2015 Several residencies at The Cill Rialaig Project, Co. Kerry. Ireland