Artist Sophie Smallhorn shows her true colours
Friday 14 October 2011
As colour consultant for the 2012 Olympic Stadium – the artist Sophie Smallhorn needed a bit of light relief after such a big project. Having spent two and a half years putting together a spectrum of colours for the fabric wrap that runs around the entire stadium, as well as continuing the colour scheme throughout the building, she has downsized to something much smaller – her own little show at London's Great Western Studios.
Notes on Colour consists of 100 screen prints, which play and experiment with colour and form. "I wanted to move through ideas quickly and instinctively and not be too precious," she says. "I played with colour on a massive industrial scale with the stadium but this process was totally free -with no restrictions. I could make mistakes, which you can't do on a big project, and no single print has taken longer than a day to create."
She describes the stadium's wrap as "like the lining of a suit – the twists in the fabric reveal the spectrum of colours". "It was amazing to watch the Olympic Stadium unfold and be part of the project," she says. "But it was a long and complicated job."
What she enjoyed best about her new work is that it took her back to the studio. She started with 200 sheets of paper, a basic screen-printing set-up – and "a desire to play". "Some of the new work is quite chaotic – which is a departure from my more hard- edged formal forms."
For Smallhorn, using colour is "a bottomless pit of possibilities". She is working on a glass canopy for a building in Victoria and has recently finished a 21 colour mural on the exterior of a private house in Basle, Switzerland. Outdoor sculptures include an arrangement of red blocks outside the Comme des Garçons flagship store in Tokyo, while a scatter of coloured blocks can be seen in the grounds of the Cass Sculpture Foundation at Goodwood.
She also collaborated with industrial designer Sebastian Bergne at the Saatchi Gallery earlier this year. The one-off piece of work Colourware is a joint exploration of colour through stacked plates.
The future looks bright for Smallhorn who calls herself a "colour sculptor" or "colour artist". Although she still has no ticket for the Olympics Games – she hopes to visit next year.
Notes on Colour, Great Western Studios, London W2 ( www.greatwesternstudios.com) to 29 October; Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm
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