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touch of time

Alice Folker Gallery is pleased to present Sophie Kitching’s first solo exhibition in Denmark, on view at its newly opened Esplanaden 14 gallery space in Copenhagen. Entitled “touch of time”, this exhibition of new paintings, sculptures, and works on paper continues the artist’s ongoing investigations into color, perception and space as translated through the language and materiality of abstraction.


Running through the artist’s works are a series of meditations on painting and its co-mingling with modern materials of industrial production. Gentle swoops of color and a studied balance of the picture plane find a conceptual counterpoint with media sourced from the urban landscape: sheets of corrugated plastic, two-way mirrors, and meticulously cut limestone and aerated concrete. The exhibition was prepared both in New York, where Sophie Kitching lives & works, and in Paris, where she spent the summer of 2022. Spread between new series and conceptual ground, these works treat organic forms and inorganic surfaces with equal care, allowing their shared materiality to speak to a distinctly contemporary facet of modern life, a world somewhere between the man-made and the naturally occurring. 


The “Invisible Green” series, for instance, draws from the titular color used in the design of English parks in the late XVIIIth century, a rich hue applied on gates and conservatories, in an attempt to blend these structures in with the fabric of the landscape around them. A form of architectural camouflage, the color here becomes a gestural foundation, which the artist embellishes with an array of subtle tones, ranging from bluish turquoise to earthy shades, adding in daubs of fuchsia, red, and bright yellow. 


There’s something of the traditions of plein air painting in these works, telling an indirect tale of nature experienced far from home. Visions of surreal, plant-like creations translate the textural relations of a space to two dimensions, yet here, this approach is executed in the same register as the original, three-dimensional design, returning the distinctive English green’s function as a compositional element against the backdrop of ground and sky. Place and time remain at the center of the work’s creation, even as the artist pulls these contexts into a broader conversation of perception and history. 


touch of time also features the more recent “Nocturne” series on canvas, a nod to the musical compositions of the XIXth century. Rather than a night view of her brighter, more joyful Garden green, this series acts as a functional negative, delving deeper into the representation of light and shadow using black Indian ink, mixed with neutral tones and Payne’s grey as a backdrop, allowing for intricate games of push & pull to unfold on the surface. The works begin with recognizable scenes, sometimes covering over preexisting landscapes, then drawing them away from their natural appearances, once again using abstraction less as a formal baseline for each work, and more as a process to arrive at the final image.


Other works apply a similar approach to the language of painting, using overlaid sheets of corrugated plastic and mirrored panels, each layer holding its own series of gestures, to create dense, interlocking patterns with this same engagement towards space and light. Each motion of the brush is placed against a complex series of correlating elements, defined as much by color pairings as they are by a strict hierarchy of depth and movement. Through simple overlays of polycarbonate panels, the work executes intricate explorations of the painted object, and its relation to modern questions of perception.  One might even read this series as “applied abstractions,” utilizing the technical contexts of a work’s creation to open dialogues across historical and artistic eras.


A set of new sculptures in limestone and aerated concrete embrace a similar sense of spatial presence. This series of stark geometric forms hand-cut and arranged in a precarious unity, trace a fine line between minimalist tenets and an exploration of the artist’s act of placement and gesture. Further, in the series of watercolor studies on Fabriano paper, color and form are held in close conversation. Showcasing Sophie Kitching’s interest in joint themes of time and space, balance and interaction, unified by the artist’s hand and a careful study of material history, the works on view here allow a series of shared perspectives, reflecting an open process of exchange and conceptual reciprocity.


About the Artist

Sophie Kitching has exhibited internationally with solo and group shows in Paris at Palais de Tokyo, Villa Emerige, Maison de Chateaubriand, Galerie Isabelle Gounod, Kenzo Marais, Drawing NOW, Bienvenue Art Fair, Centquatre, National Library of France ; in New York at House of Ruinart x Frieze, PS122 Gallery, Pioneer Works, Park Hyatt NY, WantedDesign 2016; in Copenhagen at Alice Folker Gallery and Enter Art Fair; in Marseille at Kiosk in Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation and Double-V-Gallery; in Berlin at Studio Jeppe Hein; in Torre, Switzerland at Fondazione La Fabbrica del Cioccolato; at ArtVilnius in Lithuania with Bubenberg; in Toronto as part of NXNE Art.


Sophie Kitching (b. 1990, Isle of Wight, UK) graduated from École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (2014), and was awarded an international grant to study at the School of Visual Arts, New York. In 2016, she was nominated for the ‘Bourse Révélations Emerige’ in Paris. In 2017, she inaugurated the artist residency at Maison de Chateaubriand in Châtenay-Malabry, and Lienart published her first monographic catalogue “Nuits Américaines”. The same year, she created sets for Kader Belarbi’s Ballet “Don Quichotte” at Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse. In 2018-2022, she was awarded a Studio residency as part of Painting Space 122 in New York. During Frieze NY this year, Sophie Kitching exhibited at House of Ruinart’s “Maison 1729” and created a limited-edition of Second Skin Magnums. 

touch of time
8 October - 26 November 2022 
Photo credit: Alice Folker Gallery

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