Sophie Vallance: Space Cleared For A Fight

Sophie Vallance

Artwork’s Title: Space Cleared For A Fight

Materials Used: Oil Paint on Canvas

Studio Based: Glasgow

Space Cleared
Sophie Vallance, Space Cleared for a Fight, 200 x 200 cm, oil on canvas

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

I stretch and prime my canvases before I have a clear idea for a work because when I work I work quick! Recently I’ve been starting with a base drawing in thin oil paint and then I just go straight in and paint. It’s a process of decision making, and I work wet on wet often mixing the colours in just one or two pots, turning one colour into the next if possible and I can often use just one brush for a whole work. Making a painting is like a dance between me and the canvas, and I have to be open to how it can change and evolve. 

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

One brush painter.

Would you use another three different words to describe the ‘Space Cleared For A Fight’ painting?

Dirty fish fights. 

How did you come up with this painting idea? Is there any story behind this painting?

I was reading ‘Tell Them I Said No’ a collection of essays about artists who’ve either withdrawn from the art world or adopted an antagonistic position towards it. I circled the quote ‘Space cleared for a fight’ from one of the essays and wanted to make a work based on it. I love the idea of taking a phrase and imagining what it could mean as an image. The quote resonated with me in a personal, metaphorical and artistic way, and it seemed fitting for it to be made into a painting because the process of making paintings is a conversation that can easily turn into a fight.

What colour is used the most in this painting?

Burnt Umber.

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

Enough space is usually important because the canvases are pretty big. High ceilings, white walls and a comfy seat to have a good long look from sounds good to me. 

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

Douglas Cantor, Grace Weaver, Frida Kahlo, Patti Smith, Tal R, Klone/Igor.R, Aleksandra Waliszewska, Claire Barrow, Tom Howse, Robert Mapplethorpe.

How do you know when this painting was finished?

Because I work in high intensity bursts of painting and with breaks away from looking at the work, normally I’ll work until I think it could be done, and then come back to it the next day. Usually it needs just one or two touches to finish it. It’s just a gut feeling, and if you’re in doubt, then it’s probably not done. With this piece I made it in just one sitting and I knew in my gut it was finished.

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

I share my studio space with my partner Douglas Cantor, it’s in our house, we’ve tried different set ups at different times but both found it to be difficult to have the most important part of our life fragmented away from our day to day space. We have two walls each in the studio, a velvet green sofa and a paint splattered Turkish rug which we’ve had since we lived in Berlin. The walls are covered in small works on paper, with larger canvases, in progress or just drying propped just off the ground, pretty much covering all the available wall space. We’ve got very bright LED strip lights on the ceiling because it is literally the most depressing thing in the world to make work under shitty light. 

Is there any particular message that you wish your viewers can take from this painting?

I don’t usually want to convey a specific message, it’s more that each work means something specific to me, but it’s open to interpretation what it could mean to anyone else looking at it. Art is a very personal thing, and I actually like the fact it can mean different things to different people.

What does your mum think about your art?

She likes it, she comes to my exhibitions and she has my work in her house.

Which exhibition did you visit last?

The Task of the Painter, Jorg Immendorff at Museo Nacional  Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.

Which are your plans for the near future?

Keep making work in the studio. Making work is the most important part of what I do as an artist, especially in these current strange times I’m grateful to have extra time to do it. 

*Born in 1993 in Stirling, Scotland. She studied Painting at the Camberwell College of Arts in London.

Additional Paintings 

el sol
Sophie Vallance, El Sol, 127 x 127 cm, oil on canvas
la luna
Sophie Vallance, La Luna, 127 x 127 cm, oil on canvas
la mano
Sophie Vallance, La Mano, 127 x 127 cm, Oil on Canvas

© All images are courtesy of the artist


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