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SOPHIE SMALLHORN | NEW PRINT EDITIONS LAUNCH

October 29th 2016
Continuing to explore how different colours react with each other, for her two new screenprint editions Sophie Smallhorn plays with overlapping and pattern to create new colours and textures in these provocative geometric works.

Shape, form and colour are the three main components of London-based artist Sophie Smallhorn’s work. Whether these shapes are circles, squares or rectangles, each composition is carefully thought out to provoke thought and intrigue in the viewer, with stunning results.

Her previous two Eyestorm editions, Colour Wheel 5 (2014) and Colour Wheel 6 (2015) presented perfect circles created from 24 separate block colour components that were identical in shape and size. The two prints were very similar in appearance to each other, and it was the colour that did the talking, with the tone, appearance and position of each hue being extremely well thought out by the artist to obtain the desired effect.

The two new editions we’re presenting today Layer 1 and Layer 2 are quite different to the colour wheel works visually, although share the same process in terms of how Smallhorn has thought out her ideas. This time using squares and rectangles - some that are blocks and some that have spaces in the centre - she explores how layering can create unexpected shapes and new colours, most of which are only properly discovered during the screenprinting process. Starting with a series of stencils, Smallhorn maps out her desired composition for each print. At this stage she only has colours in her mind and an idea of how the finished pieces will look. The stencils are then made into screens so that they can be printed as the layers.

Next comes the colour mixing. As with the colour wheel works, Smallhorn mixes each colour herself to get the exact hue she’s looking for; colour and each one’s placement on the page is after all the predominant feature of the work. Often when she makes a pair of prints, there is one that’s slightly more masculine and one that’s more feminine. This was the case with the colour wheels, and is again here with these new editions, although I would say it’s more difficult to distinguish which is which with the most recent works. Layer 1, with its pink and coral tones is brighter and so for me this is the feminine print. The pale grey and purples in Layer 2, I feel are more masculine. When I spoke to Sophie once the proofs had been done, she said she wasn’t sure which she thought was ‘the girl’ and which was ‘the boy’ - I wonder if she agrees with my conclusion.

A new element for these editions is the introduction of pattern in the form of thin linear stripes which appear in one of the green layers in Layer 1 and one of the purple layers in Layer 2. This addition adds a welcome aspect of texture amongst the block colours, in turn avoiding the risk of the overall composition appearing flat. Something I find quite captivating about these new configurations is that your eye begins to explore each one in detail as you try to work out the layers, noticing new colours being created by overlapping. For example, in Layer 1, the large pink layer which overlaps the edges at the top and the bottom of the composition creates a number of new tones and hues as it falls onto neighbouring layers. The most pleasing example of this is where it sits onto the slightly more orange of the two yellows to create a sumptuously rich coral. The striped layer in this piece also creates some really beautiful tones of yellows and greens when it meets other forms.

In Layer 2, the colours are more subdued. I particularly like the terracotta brown that’s been created from the marrying of a light mauve and a mustard yellow - a very pleasant surprise - and the many tones of subtle pinks and purples, some that have been created by up to four layers on top of each other. It’s fascinating also to distinguish where one shape ends and another begins; one could look at these works forever trying to work this out as many more forms are created by the layering - a great talking point and fun as well as beautiful, well thought about and perfectly executed, what more could you ask for in a piece of art?

Layer 1 and Layer 2 are available to buy online at the launch price of £900.00. See them in more detail, along with more limited editions by Sophie Smallhorn here.

ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
 
SOPHIE SMALLHORN SOPHIE SMALLHORN
Layer 1 Layer 2
 
 
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