Sophie Ryder is one of the leading sculptors working in Britain today. Over the last few decades her work has increased in size and scale and is most often seen sited in the landscape. Her part-mythical creatures stalk hilltops, grace public parks and nestle in British copses, and her massive fragmented human forms - eyes, feet and hands -sit in the grounds of country estates like resurrected relics from Classical times.
These monumental bronze and wire sculptures form one side to her practice, which is intensely process-based. But Ryder also draws, casts and prints at scales that range from the very miniature to dimensions that overwhelm and absorb in the same way as her outdoor sculptures.
Ryder's work straddles the realm of mythology and autobiography, fact and fiction, history and memory. She believes passionately in creating works that force a visceral and emotional response from all those who find themselves before them.
Over the last few decades Ryder's work has changed; become more introverted and more intensely driven by a reflective, inner sense of power. Her famous Minotaurs and 'Lady-Hares' (an emergent figure cast from Ryder's own body, with, originally, the head of a hare, its ears reminiscent of hair, but which now possesses the hare's head as a full mask that drops to the figure's shoulders) have changed over time - they are less often vertical, more often curled up and reflecting inwards, in positions that both protect and withhold the body from the outside world.
"The Lady-Hare feels right to me, as if she had always existed in myth and legend, like the Minotaur. There is a myth that exists for the hare itself, and that all adds to its magical qualities."