Sophie Skarbek

Richmond Library Exhibition Space

26 November 2009 - 20 January 2010

This and That - Paintings in acrylics on canvas
Richmond Library, 415 Church Street, Richmond


Sophie’s exhibition of nine paintings showed a love of things occurring in nature - plants, flowers, landscapes, animals - and the different ways they can be portrayed, from figurative to abstract, and even a touch of cubism.

In Callums, the semi abstracted flower form was repeated against a cubistic background of geometric forms broken up by pale yellow lines, with hints of what could be a lounge room interior and furniture. Painted in a friend’s native garden, Kangaroo Paws showed a different approach, with a close-up of the elegant, curving red and green flowers against a soft, un-detailed background. Painted in the same garden, Gum Nuts showed an assortment of gum nuts in different stages of development.

Callums, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 45cm, 2009

Very different again, After the Fires was an abstract of devastation in dark blues and purples with orange glows, painted after the bushfires around the Yarra Valley. In another abstract work, Blue Moon, a blue, curving form cast blue light upon what could be buildings and vegetation, or hints of trees. As in Callums, the forms were not definite and could be interpreted in different ways. I enjoyed this aspect.

Some of Sophie’s works were inspired by her travels in Europe and Australia. In memory of a trip to Queensland, she painted the spectacular Glass Mountains, repeating the mountain forms in glowing pinks, purples and yellows, with dark green round-headed trees. The soft pink light could have been early morning.

Up North Resting was executed during a painting workshop, in which everyone was asked to paint an animal subject camouflaged or hiding within its natural habitat. They were given a list of animals to choose from, and Sophie chose the camel, showing him resting amongst dunes and tropical plants.

The semi-abstract form of the camel in red-orange reflected the colours of the desert, and its hump the sand dunes. This work showed Sophie’s preference for strong and earthy colours. I enjoyed studying her selection of works.

Review by Cressida Fox

Blue Moon by Sophie Skarbek, acrylic on canvas, 53 x 40cm, 2003


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