Pear, Fig, Pomegranate: Sophie Charalambous

6 November - 4 December 2021 London

This is Sophie Charalambous’s first solo exhibition with the Rebecca Hossack Gallery. It brings together recent paintings and monoprints inspired by distinct Mediterranean flora, which connect the artist to the landscape of her paternal family.

 

Unable to travel there for the past eighteen months Charalambous has been exploring and reimagining these plants and trees as motifs and "stage sets" for small dramas that mark the passing of time and changing seasons: In winter a bare Fig tree is home to Pigeons and Jays and in the summer its leaves cast deep shadows on an abandoned house.A series of Prickly Pear trees, known in Cyprus as "Papoutsosiko" become symbiotic habitats for other life forms and places of myth and magic connecting humans to the natural world. Ladders and fences often break up the vegetation, creating structure and divisions.

 

Charalambous paints with watercolour and gouache on handmade Khadi paper, building intensity through transparent washes and then opaque colour. Her monoprints explore markmaking and texture through this extension of the drawing process. Large pieces are made from smaller studies using observation and imagination. Imagery is derived from botanical illustration, traditional shadow theatre and old photographs.

 

She is inspired by a wide range of artists including the British Neo Romantics, folk art, textiles, and ceramics from the Mediterranean and Byzantine Painted Churches which she visited as a child.