Sophie Ryder was born in London, England, in 1963. During her childhood, her French mother travelled to Provence in the south of France where the family spent the entire summer. She studied Combined Arts at the Royal Academy of Arts where, while obtaining her diploma in painting, she was encouraged by fellow artist to develop her sculpture. Inspired by Picasso, Goya and Henry Moore, she famously developed the Lady Hare as a counterpart to Ancient Greek mythology’s Minotaur.
Sophie’s Lady Hare sculptures are featured at Withiel, and have become an iconic symbol of the garden as a whole.
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.
These art objects are direct products of her working methods, and as such they have an inherent fascination – people are naturally intrigued by unusual processes. It is still necessary, however, to see beyond them and recognise that the materials are a means to an end: the communication of ideas. They lie at the centre of all the artist’s creations, and they are fed by a spring that never runs dry. Indeed, the ideas emerge so quickly that she never has enough time to implement all of them. The ability to retrieve and develop an idea will depend not only on how other projects are progressing, but also on the resolution of any technical hurdles she may have set herself, especially in relation to her larger sculptures.
Working ‘big’ is a very significant feature of her work, and she enjoys rising to the constructional and creative challenges which flow from this aspiration.