The river flows from a trickle at Hellidon to a surge at Oxford. Glaciers process in the depths of winter as it cuts its way through deep snow, rising to floody heights. No landmarks are to be found, no waymarkers to be navigated as the known landscape is consumed, overlaid with a new world. In April, the mess and muck is left behind, clinging to grasses and tree trunks, and then the green days come, with a dry heat only to be tempered by a slide down muddy banks into a swirl of green and brown, reeds and pebbles and dipping branches.
Juliet Bankes and Isabel Wilkinson explore the other worlds accessed through the portal of the River Cherwell – the worlds opened up by the freedom of walking, sliding and thrashing along the banks through changing seasons. Worlds of pagan kings, eyes and camera lenses, cognitive maps, the May Queen, industrial relics and river gods.
Using print and sculpture, the artists sift through their memories and lived experience of this river and its tributaries that flow past both their houses and the gallery itself, finding a place within the work where all permutations of the river exist simultaneously in a new, constructed landscape.