Sophie Birch


Old Friends - Wooden board with oil paint and pastel on denim, 2021

Old Friends

Current solo exhibition at The London Arts Board, 13th of February - 12th March 2021.

The London Arts Board is a dis-used municipal notice board on the corner of Peckham Road and Vestry Road, Camberwell.

I use a type of light that comes from remembering. A conversation from the bottom of your bag had-out on a warm patio. Scraps of fluff-lint stood on the threshold - both fluttering in the breeze and pinned back off my face. Paint helps me to solidify the amorphous in-between, something that isn’t yet formed but is itself nonetheless and proud to be so. I want to articulate a moment or movement, one that briefly felt fresh, made of rib or elbow and full of potential.


Drawing is often my point of departure, a way of collecting in a kind of visual diary, what I see, remember and imagine as it occurs. I work with and over these drawings - pushing other layers of seeing - producing drawn, painted and sculptural works. Storytelling mediates my perception, I intertwine experiences from books and other media with personal narratives and mythologies. A desire to connect unrelated happenings in pursuit of resolution or truth, is the type of misunderstanding I find compelling. Magical thinking and verbal slapstick, influence my often oblique relationship to humour.


Old Friends lends itself to a signpost, pointing outwards from the picture-plane dividing up the board. It’s Janus-like faces are interrupted with pinned and knotted cotton, creating a barnacled frayed-jean surface. The physicality of sensory experiences and how that relates to thought excites me, the effect of exhibiting outside at the end of winter invites this experience in an extreme form. I wonder what is happening to the work outside, I’m hoping it will mould and weather - transforming it somewhat, the offering has a kind of sanctimony out in the open air that needs natural embellishment.