SOPHIE RYDER, Reclining Horse with Lovers, 2016
The artwork selected this week is a wonderful small bronze sculpture by one of the UK's most well known contemporary artists, Sophie Ryder. Instantly recognizable in style and subject matter, Ryder's works are both magical and autobiographical. For more than 30 years, she has been building a personal repertoire of mythological figures and motifs in her work. Tender and self-aware, her hybrid creatures encapsulate mythology’s significance: steeped in cultural symbolism, they nevertheless resonate on an immediate and human level. In this sculpture, Reclining Horse with Lovers, we see three of Ryder's most enduring figures: the Horse, the Minotaur and the Hare (whose body is based on Ryder’s own). Appearing throughout her work, these characters often address a complex range of human emotions, from introspection to desire, familial bonds and loving embraces.
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, the youngest student after J.M.W. Turner ever to be admitted. 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; Salisbury Cathedral; Victoria Art Gallery, Bath; 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.
Sophie Ryder is represented by Waterhouse & Dodd USA. Large-scale works by the artist were arranged by the gallery for exhibition at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach in Spring of 2017.
SOPHIE RYDER (British b. 1963)