Thursday, March 01, 2012
Artist: Sophie Derrick
Posted by Florence Hodesdon
Rarely do you see such vibrancy of colour mixed with such subtlety of expression, yet Sophie Derrick does this magnificently. The impasto oil paint is confidently applied, fearlessly leaving behind the brushstrokes, the colours themselves outlandish and provocative. Yet there becomes an exciting clash between the vitality of paint and the modesty of the facial expressions; the portraits are often painted in side profile, with their eyes closed and head down. The paint therefore acts as a superb metaphor for expressing what the face itself hides, allowing the viewer to see both vulnerability and confidence, decorum and exhibitionism.
This new graduate from Leeds University integrates two very distinctive mediums; painting and photography. Derrick’s ‘great interest in the materiality and substance of paint’ is executed through her other passion, ‘photography, creating a juxtaposition of the two mediums.’ And yet this clash, like the clash of colours and poses, works greatly, offering us both realism and impressionism. She photographs the act of painting onto her own skin, and then paints on top of that very photograph, creating a layered portrait. Her work becomes a vehicle for questioning the use of one’s body as a canvas in name of art, and how it is possible for the body to become both the object and subject of the work.
Derrick’s work pushes the barriers and typical conventions for portraiture in every aspect, involving the viewer implicitly in their own questioning over the tradition of this art.