SOPHIE RYDER AT ST JAMES'S SQUARE: The Year of the Rabbit: Sophie Ryder at 60 in St James's Square

4 May - 28 July 2023
"There is little doubt that 20th- and 21st-century British sculpture has been one of the defining forces of contemporary art. Sophie Ryder has been one of the most original forces contributing to this tradition."
Sir Peter Murray CBE, Founder of Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Step into Sophie Ryder’s imaginary world of mythical beings as this exhibition showcases the acclaimed artist’s signature grand-scale sculpture and brings together her unique cast of characters with which she describes her life, relationships and a universal human experience. 
Sophie Ryder was born in London in 1963 and this exhibition celebrates her 60th year. Appropriately 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, Ryder’s signature motif. Aged 17 she was youngest student after J.M.W. Turner to be admitted to the Royal Academy Schools, just a stones throw from the historic St James’s Square.
In Sophie’s world, two central hybrid beings emerge: the long eared Ladyhare, the abiding fictional female character of Ryder’s realm, and its partner, the iconic bull-headed Minotaur, reimagined beyond Greek mythology. For Ryder ‘they are opposite forces, which can be paired or remain independent of one another.’ By adopting a mask her figures explore their animal natures and are free to explore the taboo. Joined by the Ladyhare’s gentle horse and devoted dogs, we recognise relationship dynamics that touch us all.
Her anthropomorphic characters are used both to explore the human condition and as a metaphor for Ryder’s own feelings. Indeed the Ladyhare’s body is based on Ryder’s own, imbuing it with a personal significance yet transcending the limitations of the autobiographical. Her work is an exploration of the female psyche and sexuality as her body morphs with the powerful energy and form of the hare.
This exhibition forms part of a series of Sophie Ryder celebration events throughout the Summer including open air sculpture at RHS Wisley and Chelsea Barracks. The Lightbox, the award-winning gallery and museum in Woking, Surrey is also hosting a major retrospective entitled ‘All of Us’. With over 50 works spanning 30 years of making it’s a deep dive into Ryders interest in the human body and her enduring connection to family and animals. Alongside her sculpture are vast works on paper, wire works, mosaics and textiles to be discovered.
Maquettes also available. 

Click INSTALLATION VIEWS to see more images.