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SOPHIE SMALLHORN | ’Colour Wheels’
January 21st 2021
Liberating herself from the boundaries of colour theorists, Sophie Smallhorn has embarked on a journey to freely explore the relationship between colours. New harmonic chronicles are created via colourful sculptural works, formed by round cylinders, triangular blocks and square pegs - and works on paper depicting reconstructed colour wheels or patterns of geometrical shaped hues. All in a pursuit to investigate colour through form and volume. It is a continuous and life-long study for Smallhorn, and one that will never conclude. Colour Wheel 5 and Colour Wheel 6 are two screenprint editions from her series of ‘Colour Wheels’; an untraditional inquiry into the interaction between colour and simultaneous contrast.
by Henrik Riis
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
The organisation of colour and its daily functional use in various practices like art, architecture and design is widely recognised. However, it took a pandemic and a young bright scientist from Cambridge University to understand the physics behind and propose a conceptional mapping of colour. What started as a necessary escape from the re-emergence of the plaque in Cambridge in 1665, turned into months on end of creative solitude for Isaac Newton at his family’s countryside estate, Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, sixty miles north of the university town. Almost two years of research and reflecting would bring about some his greatest discoveries, including the ground-breaking work on the laws of motion and gravity - and the discovery of the physical properties of colour. A theory he published in 1672.

Newton’s proposed diagram of colours was an imperfect wheel-shaped organisation of seven colours, focusing only on the physical and visual appearance of the colour spectrum, expanded from daylight shot through prisms - and projected on the wall of his study. The observations Newton made were significant and pioneered an exploration into colour theory by scientists, scholars and artists; a study on how colours relate to each other which is still advancing today, three and a half centuries after Newton’s discovery.

More than a century later, the German poet, scientist and statesman, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, further developed the understanding of colour beyond the physical, by adding a physiological layer on how colour affects the viewer. Goethe investigated colour harmony and how objects are perceived in different lighting, instituting a school of thought that were to be expanded over decades to come, most notably by Josef Albers; a teacher at the famous German art school Bauhaus. In his book ‘Interaction of Colour’ (1963), considered a game changer by colour theorists, Albers studied how colours, side by side, interact with one another and change our perception of them; an effect known as simultaneous contrast. His study of the effect became a life-long fascination of Albers’ and immortalised through numerous publications and a substantial series of work titled ‘Homage to the Square’ painted from around 1950 until his passing away in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1976.

In the study of simultaneous contrast; what was introduced by Newton, and developed and enriched by Goethe, was perfected by Albers.

A proclaimed colourist, and counting Albers as one of many important influences, Sophie Smallhorn’s approach to colour is much less scientific and more of an unguarded exploration into colour, always keeping an open mind throughout the journey of what unexpectedly may lie around the corner. She does not adhere to a certain school of thought and a colour theory but set herself defined parameters for each work, such as “no reds”, “only 8 colours” or “five layers”. With limitless possibilities, the artist’s conceptional approach before she embarks on a new journey maintains a focus. Too much choice can inflict chaos.

In 2001, Smallhorn created the first work in her series of colour wheels; a series that so far include six pieces. Influenced by the circular reference tool used to visualise the relations between colours, she stripped the traditional colour wheel from its confines of showing an organisational chart of the primary and secondary colours; warm and cold hues; and those in harmony and contrast. Instead, the artist decided to use circular shape as the geometrical guidance, dividing it into twenty-four equally sized blocks - and opening it up to a new interpretation not defined by wavelengths as defined in physics.
SOPHIE SMALLHORN
Colour Wheel 5, 2014

Edition of 45
4 Artist Proof (APs)

84(w) x 84(h) cm
33.07(w) x 33.07(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
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SOPHIE SMALLHORN
Colour Wheel 5, 2014

Edition of 45
4 Artist Proof (APs)

84(w) x 84(h) cm
33.07(w) x 33.07(h) inches
ENQUIRY
Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
Name *
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Sophie Smallhorn (British, b. 1971)
84(w) x 84(h) cm
33.07(w) x 33.07(h) inches
14 Colour screenprint on Somerset 410gsm paper with hand torn edge.

Signed and numbered on front
Edition of 45
PRICE (INCL. VAT)
$ 1,250.00
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
The artistic path towards Colour Wheel 5 and Colour Wheel 6, started thirteen years earlier when ‘Colour Wheel 1’ and ‘Colour Wheel 2’ were released. In the earliest prints, warm hues of red are dominant, balanced by several nuances of warm grey and a singular honeycomb-yellow, pairing the two up. The sequence of the colour in every colour wheel is based on her intuition, where one colour interacts with the next. The simultaneous contrast investigated by Smallhorn is everywhere in the colour wheels; a rubin red is positioned next to a dark vintage maroon on one side and a lighter apricot pink on the other, making the red appear different through the influence of the adjacent colours.

From the warmth of the first pieces, Colour Wheel 5 and Colour Wheel 6 are presenting colours more towards light warm greys and a condensed spectrum of red and green. The introduction of three bright yellows in Colour Wheel 5, Smallhorn refers to this work as the feminine one, pairing it to the more masculine Colour Wheel 6. Though colour obviously has no gender, it is interesting to recognise that even to an open-minded colourist, the emotional registry of colour - an entirely social construction - is deeply rooted into our culture.

Through the circular shape in her presentation of each colour, Smallhorn challenges the viewer’s understanding of what a colour wheel should look like; clearly conflicting with the perception. This may make them perplexing at first sight, but their individuality and balance become their beauty. The series are not revolutionary, nor evolutionary - and they are not meant to be. Their significance lies in the continuous study by the artist into colour relations and simultaneous contrast. A study that allows innovation, without the boundaries of theorists, and brings about works which are both surprising and aesthetically pleasing.
SOPHIE SMALLHORN
Colour Wheel 6, 2015

Edition of 45
6 Artist Proof (APs)

84(w) x 84(h) cm
33.07(w) x 33.07(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
Your Offer *
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
SOPHIE SMALLHORN
Colour Wheel 6, 2015

Edition of 45
6 Artist Proof (APs)

84(w) x 84(h) cm
33.07(w) x 33.07(h) inches
ENQUIRY
Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
Sophie Smallhorn (British, b. 1971)
84(w) x 84(h) cm
33.07(w) x 33.07(h) inches
14 Colour screenprint on Somerset 410gsm paper with hand torn edge.

Signed and numbered on front
Edition of 45
PRICE (INCL. VAT)
$ 1,250.00
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
Sophie Smallhorn’s public installations, sculptures, and works on paper have been exhibited internationally since her graduation from the University of Brighton in 1994. Her work has been included as part of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London - and at the Saatchi Gallery in the collaboration titled ‘ColourWare’ with the British industrial designer, Sebastian Bergne. The artist works from her studio in North London.

Thirteen years after ‘Colour Wheel 1’ was created in 2001, two works from the series were released in a collaboration between Sophie Smallhorn and Eyestorm. Both editions of 45, Colour Wheel 5 and Colour Wheel 6 consist of fourteen manually screenprinted layers of ink, creating the twenty-four blocks in each colour wheel. The prints are numbered, dated and signed by the artist.

You can find more information about the ‘Colour Wheels’ and see more details on Sophie Smallhorn’s artist page here.
 
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PRINT EDITION RELEASE
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$ 1,035.00
$ 1,035.00
DO YOU OWN A DAMIEN HIRST PRINT EDITION YOU WISH TO SELL?
Valium
With two major exhibitions during the Venice Biennale, 2017 was a year which increased the awareness of Damien Hirst. With Hirst still actively releasing new print editions, many collectors focus on his earlier work from 2000 and before, such as Valium, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), Opium, Beautiful, Galactic, Exploding Screenprint (Spin) and Painting-by-Numbers.

If you have one of the above prints that you are potentially interested in selling, please do get in touch with us via the Contact page, which you can find here.
 
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