Internationally acclaimed sculptor Sophie Ryder’s life size sculpture ‘Paintpots’ is currently on display in Cirencester town centre on loan from the artist. Wetpaint Gallery is looking to start a fundraising campaign to keep the sculpture in the town as a permanent feature.
In 1997, Sophie Ryder’s sculpture ‘The Minotaur and the Hare’ was installed on the Cheltenham Promenade and later purchased for the town with the help of an enterprising fund-raising scheme. It is now a permanent feature and a well-known cultural landmark. In 2003 ‘Conversation’ was installed at Brewery Court, Cirencester. The work was well received by the public and became a feature of the town but was removed when work commenced on the New Brewery Arts Redevelopment Project.
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. For Sophie Ryder, making art is much more than a profession, it is a compulsion. Much of her work is on a large scale and is designed with public spaces in mind, competing either with large buildings in an urban context, or else the grandeur of nature in a landscape setting.
Cirencester, known as the ‘Capital Of The Cotswolds’, is an historic Roman town in the heart of the Cotswolds. The symbol of the hare is of great local significance and dates back to the discovery in 1971 of a 4th Century A.D mosaic, close to the river Churn. It is therefore totally appropriate that Sophie’s mythical creatures should be found here, maintaining the local tradition.
Sophie describes her half human, half hare creations as follows; ‘I needed a figure to go with the minotaur – a human female figure with an animal head. The hare head seemed to work perfectly, the ears simulating a mane of hair. She feels right to me, as if she had always existed in myth and legend, like the minotaur. The myth exists for the hare itself, and that all adds to its magical qualities’.
Sophie Ryder has had a long and prestigious career and her work has been exhibited widely, both in the UK and internationally including Canada, United States, Eire, Belgium and the Netherlands. A selection of her work is available through Wetpaint Online.