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Sophie Barber: a year on from the Platform Graduate Award 2017

15th Nov 2018

East Sussex artist Sophie Barber has enjoyed a productive year since receiving the Platform Graduate Award in December 2017. As well as twelve months of mentoring support in the crucial first year after graduation, the award comes with a £2,500 bursary, which has helped the twenty-two year old artist to balance a part-time gardening job with more time in her rented studio in St Leonards-on-Sea. With an impressive work regime, Sophie has continued to produce her characteristic paintings on unstretched canvas, some more ambitious in scale than before at up to nine foot tall.

This passionate rate of creativity has been met with demand, with works selling at Towner Art Gallery’s Sussex Open, as well as from a solo show this summer at Project 78, an independent space in St Leonards-on-Sea. The artist has found her way into the vibrant contemporary art community in St Leonards-on-Sea, receiving encouragement from artists like Becky Beasley.

Sophie has taken an active part in shaping her own programme of mentoring support through the year, working with Platform artist mentor Jonathan Parsons and CVAN South East Manager Oliver Sumner, and with ongoing support from Rosie Cooper (Head of Exhibitions at De La Warr Pavilion), who originally nominated the Hastings graduate for the award. Artist and curator David Rhodes has also provided mentoring support, providing feedback on current work and visiting exhibitions with Sophie.

She credits the profile from CVAN South East, including an Instagram takeover last year, with providing wider exposure for her work and helping to extend her network. Sophie ended the year by spending an afternoon with Paul Hobson (Director of Modern Art Oxford and Chair of CVAN South East), visiting some exhibitions in London’s East End spaces.

Sophie Barber is now working on a new ambitious body of work.

Image: Sophie Barber by Sam Lovett, 2018.

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