SOPHIE RYDEREnglish b. 1963

SOPHIE RYDEREnglish b. 1963

Sophie Ryder's work is instantly recognizable. Over the last 30 years, she has built a personal repertoire of mythological figures and motifs. Tender and self-aware, her hybrid creatures encapsulate mythology’s significance: steeped in cultural symbolism, they nevertheless resonate on an immediate and human level. Two of her most enduring figures, the virile Minotaur and feminine Hare, address a complex range of human emotions, from introspection to desire. Indeed the hare’s body is based on Ryder’s own, imbuing it with a personal significance that transcends the limitations of the autobiographical.

These distinctive characters form only one part of Ryder's oeuvre. Monumental clasped hands and beautifully observed eyes, anatomical details particularly relevant to the artist, are rendered in a variety of media including cast bronze and her now signature wire mesh. Ryder's profound love of animals is emphasized in her depictions of horses and dogs, constant companions in her life as well as her sculpture.

The child of a French mother and English father, Ryder was born in London and spent her summers in the south of France. Art was always her ambition and she enrolled in the Royal Academy Schools aged 18. Her work has followed a personal and organic trajectory, growing in ambition and scale along with her own technical ability. Her unique materials add a layer of intrigue, with twisted wire, wet plaster and sawdust joining old machine parts and bits of scavenged children's toys in exquisitely textured sculptures.

Ryder’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions since the late 1980s, including shows at Berkeley Square Gallery, London; Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford; Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids; Galerie de Bellefeuille, Montreal; Newport City Museum & Art Gallery; Odapark, Venray, Netherlands; Royal West Academy, Bristol; Salisbury Cathedral; and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Public and corporate collections that hold her work include Barings Bank; Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum; De Beers Collection; The National Trust; The Private Bank and Trust Company Ltd; Robert and Mary Montgomery Armory Arts Center, Palm Beach; and Victoria Art Gallery, Bath.