Artists > Sophie Ryder

Artist: Sophie Ryder

  • Sophie Ryder’s world is one of mystical creatures, animals and hybrid beings made from sawdust, wet plaster, old machine parts and toys, weld joins and angle grinders, wire ‘pancakes’, torn scraps of paper, charcoal sticks and acid baths.

    These art objects are direct products of her working methods, and as such they have an inherent fascination – people are naturally intrigued by unusual processes. It is still necessary, however, to see beyond them and recognise that the materials are a means to an end: the communication of ideas. They lie at the centre of all the artist’s creations, and they are fed by a spring that never runs dry. Indeed, the ideas emerge so quickly that she never has enough time to implement all of them. The ability to retrieve and develop an idea will depend not only on how other projects are progressing, but also on the resolution of any technical hurdles she may have set herself, especially in relation to her larger sculptures.

    Working ‘big’ is a very significant feature of her work, and she enjoys rising to the constructional and creative challenges which flow from this aspiration.
    Many of the people who meet the artist, whether in her studio, at an exhibition opening or an art fair, have already formed a mental picture of a six-foot Amazon with enormous biceps. How else, they think, could such larger than life creatures be brought into the world by a woman sculptor?
    They have to struggle to hide their astonishment when they confront reality: Sophie is five foot five, slender, softly spoken, slightly dreamy (mostly she is thinking about work in progress) and wears her hair in long tresses. She is altogether more reminiscent of a Pre-Raphaelite muse than a prolific builder of potent images. Looks do deceive, of course, and in her case the evidence of her hard profession is born on the tips of her fingers. These have become so abraded by the materials she uses that she has virtually lost the capacity to make fingerprints. Commitment is all, and one sees the same quality applied to everything else that matters to her – family, daughters, friends, dogs, cooking and eating organic products, keeping fit with daily runs, playing classical guitar and watching no television. The only way she can maintain a healthy balance is to have a very disciplined approach to her work, and to pull in helpers on the strict understanding that they will deliver an equivalent level of commitment. She is not a prima donna, however, as anyone hearing her infectious laughter is bound to appreciate. She has an ability to see the funny side of things without ‘making’ fun, and much of her work expresses her desire to preserve her own ‘joie de vivre’ at all costs, reawakening ours in the process.

    SOPHIE RYDER – THE ARTIST

    Sophie Ryder was born in London, England, in 1963. During her childhood, her French mother travelled to Provence in the south of France where the family spent the entire summer. She studied Combined Arts at the Royal Academy of Arts where, while obtaining her diploma in painting, she was encouraged by fellow artist to develop her sculpture. Inspired by Picasso, Goya and Henry Moore, she famously developed the Lady Hare as a counterpart to Ancient Greek mythology’s Minotaur.

  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park
    Newport City Museum & Art Gallery
    Barings Bank
    De Beers Collection
    Gerrard & National Bank
    New Hall College, Cambridge
    Conoco Ltd
    The BOC Group
    The Private Bank and Trust Company Ltd
    The National Trust
    Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum
    Cheltenham Borough Council
    Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
    Victoria Art Gallery, Bath and North East Somerset
    Robert and Mary Montgomery Armory Arts Center, Palm Beach, Florida, USA
    Tyne and Wear Development Corporation
    Ballantrae Park, Dublin, Ohio, USA
    Frensham Heights School
    Folkestone Town
    OHSU Foundation

  • 1987
    Edward Totah Gallery, London
    Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury
    Courcoux & Courcoux Gallery, Stockbridge

    1988
    St Paul’s Gallery, Leeds
    Courcoux & Courcoux Gallery, Stockbridge

    1989
    Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames
    Berkeley Square Gallery, London

    1990
    Newport City Museum & Art Gallery, Newport, Gwent
    Courcoux & Courcoux Gallery, Stockbridge

    1991
    Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield

    1992
    Courcoux & Courcoux Gallery, Stockbridge

    1994
    Winchester Cathedral, Inner Close, Winchester
    Red House Museum & Gardens, Christchurch, Dorset
    The Allen Gallery (Garden), Alton, Hampshire

    1995
    Berkeley Square Gallery, London

    1996
    Belloc Lowndes Gallery, Chicago, USA

    1997
    O’Hara Gallery, New York, USA
    Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum / city centre
    Berkeley Square Gallery, London

    1998
    Courcoux & Courcoux Gallery, Stockbridge

    1999
    Victoria Art Gallery, Bath and city centre
    Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford
    Berkeley Square Gallery, London

    2000
    Odapark, Venray, Holland
    Courcoux & Courcoux Gallery, Stockbridge
    Buschlen Mowatt Galleries, Vancouver, Canada

    2001
    Galerie de Bellefeuille, Quebec, Canada
    Berkeley Square Gallery, London

    2002
    Metropole Galleries, Folkestone, Kent
    Courcoux & Courcoux Gallery, Stockbridge
    Pierrepont Fine Art, Oxford

    2003
    Berkeley Square Gallery, London

    2004
    Imago Galleries, Palm Desert, USA
    Victoria Art Gallery, Bath
    Storey Gallery, Lancaster / town centre

    2005
    Canary Wharf, London

    2006
    Atkinson Gallery, Millfield School, Millfield

    2007
    Imago Galleries, Palm Desert, USA
    Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, USA

    2008
    Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield

    2009
    Victoria Art Gallery, Bath

    2012
    Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford
    Villa D’Arte, Pietrasanta, Italy

    2013
    Celia Lendis Contemporary Art Gallery, Moreton-in-Marsh
    Royal West Academy, Bristol
    Imago Galleries, Palm Desert, USA

    2014
    New Brewery Arts, Cirencester

    May 3 – Jun 29, 2014
    New Brewery Arts, Cirencester

    Oct 4 – Oct 29, 2014
    Courcoux & Courcoux Gallery, Stockbridge

    SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

    1984
    Christie’s Inaugural Pick of the Graduates
    Dogwork, Interim Art, London

    1985
    The Nature of the Beast, Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames
    Summer in the City, Gallery 24, London
    Harry Scott & Sophie Ryder, Gallery 24, London

    1986
    Bretton Menagerie, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield
    Freedom to Touch, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
    Animals in Photography, Photographers Gallery, London

    1987
    Cats, Louise Hallet Gallery, London

    1988
    Glasgow Garden Festival, Glasgow
    Cleveland Gallery, Middlesborough
    Winter Exhibition, Berkeley Square Gallery, London
    The Cultivated Garden, Oxford Gallery, Oxford
    Chilford Hall Press, Cambridge
    The Fabricated Landscape, Plymouth City Museum

    1990
    Menagerie, Glasgow Print Studio, Glasgow

    1991
    Hannah Peschar Gallery, Ockley, Surrey

    1992
    Art at Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes
    Millfield 20th Century Sculpture Exhibition, Millfield School, Millfield
    Women Artists – Critics Choice, Bruton Street Gallery, London
    Young British Art, Arhus Festival, Denmark
    Bruton Gallery, Bath

    1993
    Sophie Ryder Collages, Oxford Gallery, Oxford
    Art in the City, London
    Within Reach, Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery, Brury St Edmunds, Suffolk

    1994
    Summer Show, Berkeley Square Gallery, London
    Sculpture at Goodwood, Chichester
    Artbus, Fife, Scotland (Drawings)
    Minotaur, Myths & Legends, Berkeley Square Gallery, London

    1996
    Chelsea Harbour, London

    1997
    Manchester Academy, Manchester
    Wimpole Hall, Cambridge
    The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
    Animals in Art (Blue Cross), Sothebys, London

    1998
    Vancouver Sculpture Festival, Vancouver, Canada

    1999
    Shape of the Century – 100 Years of British Sculpture, Salisbury and Canary Wharf, London
    Den Haag Sculptuur, The Hague, Holland

    2000
    Veranneman Foundations, Belgium

    2001
    Kirkland International Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, Washington, USA
    Eigsé, Carlow Arts Festival, Eire
    Den Haag Sculptuur, The Hague, Holland

    2003
    Newbury Spring Festival, Newbury

    2005
    Vancouver Biennale, Vancouver, Canada

    2007
    Blickachsen 6, Kurpark, Bad Homburg
    Vancouver Biennale, Vancouver, Canada

    2009
    Vancouver Biennale, Vancouver, Canada

    2010
    Aynhoe Park, Banbury

    2011
    Aynhoe Park, Banbury
    Vancouver Biennale, Vancouver, Canada

    2013
    Wet Paint Gallery, Cirencester