From Sharne Wolff…
Google Sophie Cape and it’s almost impossible to find an article that doesn’t mention her past vocations as professional downhill skier and pre-Olympic cyclist. Forced retirement from both sports due to catastrophic injuries resulted in Cape attending art school. Her artistic career is now at take-off point. While it’s arguable that Cape’s personality traits – such as an obvious propensity for risk-taking – shouldn’t affect the judgement of her output, hers is a case where it’s virtually impossible to separate the art from the maker’s life experience.
To make her art, Cape employs a process that makes American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock’s work seem quite domestic. Like Pollock however, Cape generally paints with her epic canvases flat on the ground. Torn pieces of the heavy duty fabric (which in this show all range between 2 and 3 metres in length) are placed in selected landscapes and then subjected to an intense private performance tempered only by space and the internal struggle each articulates. Making limited, if any, use of a paintbrush, Cape’s chosen media includes charcoal, ink, bone, soil, bitumen, and occasionally her own blood. The results might well reveal the full range of human emotions, but the overwhelming feeling is that the viewer acts as witness to the aftermath of a raw and untamed spectacle.
Until March 8
Olsen Irwin Gallery, Woollahra
Pic: Sophie Cape, All I hear are distant drums 2014. Oil, acrylic, ink, charcoal and soil on canvas, 202 x 285cm. Courtesy the artist and Olsen Irwin Gallery.