A new exhibition by a prolific artist with strong links to Cumbria will open at Grasmere’s Heaton Cooper studio in June. 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 took a foundation course at Storey Institute, Lancaster and Morecambe College of Art, and then went on to study Illustration at Falmouth school of Art, Cornwall. While there he developed an interest in the Old Masters which he later pursued under the mentoring of Chris Robinson, a graduate of the Royal Academy and practising artist. Since 1999 his many exhibitions have been staged in Dublin, Cornwall, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Shetland, as well as at many London galleries. Since 2011, 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. 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.”

Gallery open 9:00 - 5:30pm

Exhibition closes on the 4th of September.