Artists Imogen Rigden

I have undertaken a long series of work informed by the Japanese 72 Micro-Seasons of Impermanence.  Our Western calendar is divided into 12 months but in ancient China the year was divided into 24 seasons, based on closely observed changes in the natural environment.  Later in Japan the calendar was subdivided further into 72 micro-seasons lasting only five days each.  I am following a slow, lyrical path through these seasons and enjoying the intensity of observation.  Each micro-season has its own character, its movement or stillness and its clear or misty air.  In just a few days it will change again.   

These are abstract landscape paintings in water-soluble oils and inks on cradled wooden panels.  A line of colour will appear somewhere in each of them as a comment on the nature of a certain period of time as I observe it.  A cool blue white line might express the quiet of a winter’s day rather than its temperature alone.  I might use a brighter blue line to indicate a period in summer when the air is warm but airy.   

I can often use translations of the original Japanese micro-seasons as titles for these paintings but where our seasonal phenomena in Western Europe differ from those in Japan, I look for more locally relevant descriptive phrases. 

Imogen trained in Contemporary Art at The Warehouse Art School, Oxford and studied Contemporary Painting at OVADA, Oxford Visual Arts Development Agency, where she held a studio space for several years and taught Experimental Drawing. She now works in her studio at Wilcote Art, Oxfordshire, in the Scottish Highlands and on the shoreline of North Finistėre. The wild weather in both Scotland and Brittany is a strong influence.   

Imogen works in paint, ink, graphite and many other media, for example metal, natural fibre and wild plant dyes.  She makes paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations and often develops long series of rule-based work which may take several years to complete. 

Through her work Imogen encourages the observer to have a close look at their local natural environment and understand its true value.  Her semi-urban garden on the edge of Oxford City is a celebration of wild plants and a sanctuary for many wild creatures.  It is also a place where songbirds must shout to communicate above the noise of traffic.  This patch of land has become a rich source of subject matter and materials in her practice.