Imogen Rigden

This listing is from the 2022 Festival.

painting the song of a woodland blackbird in a wild garden
Summertown - City

WILDERNESS BEWILDERNESS - a solo show at The North Wall Gallery, Summertown, running from May 3rd to May 21st, 2022. Please refer to the North Wall Arts Centre Gallery website or call the Box Office (01865 319450) for confirmation of opening hours, information about special events and for current Covid restrictions.

Bright paintings, complex drawings and intriguing objects celebrate the mysteries of a closely observed natural world.

In March 2020, at the beginning of our first pandemic lockdown, the artist called for brief written observations of the natural world at a time of limited freedom. "The Look Outside Project" brought over 200 contributions from near and far, leading to an installation of three window panels and inspiring many other pieces of work in this show.
Many observations sent in were of gardens, streets or local walking opportunities. Horizons had narrowed. Meanwhile the artist's garden was treated to “no-mow May” and this extended far into autumn and beyond.

“The Company of Everything Else” records a revelatory growing season on a staff noticeboard of the kind seen in a company reception area. In this piece wild garden plants are recognised for their crucial role in improving the environment for others, human and non-human. Here is a celebration of the vital connection between human and wild plant life.

The “Untidied Garden” series of ink drawings explores the tangled shapes of plants at their seeding stage, a richness often denied to a tidied space. Commonly undervalued scrubland trees, poplar and hawthorn, are the subject of detailed and careful work.

Works in ink, oil and graphite reference the rhythm of bird song, of rain and windstorms. Other complex drawings discuss the clash of natural sound against invasive human noise.

Natural dye made from wild and domestic plants, gathered in the garden and on walks, colour the materials of three dimensional work. For example “The Wild Plants' Street Party” refers to socially distanced neighbourhood gatherings during lockdown. Lush street plants celebrate their season to thrive.

Colourful paintings suggest imagined landscapes, unreachable and safe from human exploitation and destruction.

Overall this body of work brings messages of hope. It suggests that many of us will remember our lockdown encounters with our environment and we will be less ready to condone the destruction of wilderness, wherever it may still exist.


The North Wall Gallery
South Parade
01865 319450

Opening Dates and Times

May 2022
Mon - Fri: 10am - 4pm, Sat: 12pm - 4pm, closed Sun and Bank Holidays