About Sophia Starling

Born in Norfolk 2008 – 11 BA (Hons) Painting, Camberwell College of Arts, London 2007 – 8 Foundation Diploma Art and Design, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London Lives and works in London “Sophia Starling’s work typifies the kind of discourse found at the boundaries of painting; in particular that which takes the conclusions of formal abstraction – the point at which Ad Reinhardt claimed he was making the very last paintings – as a starting point. Her work looks beyond the picture plane, to the basic physical components of painting, as a point of expansion. An excess of canvas billows out like a tablecloth from behind a tall oblong stretcher with rounded ends. In ‘Unpeeled (Green/Purple)’, the picture plane is painted a warm glossy green, whilst two circular canvases in aubergine purple sit as tiers at either end. The bottom half of the picture has been relaxed from its support, but remains stiff from the dried medium. Although suffused with the influence of Steven Parrino, whose destructive processes were paradoxically reviving painting, it seems Starling’s approach shares none of his anxiety or violence. And there is no need; the death of painting debate has passed. Instead of physically contorting, ripping and scrunching paintings - until disfigured yet transformed - her processes appear more dispassionate. In ‘Shifted X’ for example, the area of painted canvas has been casually relocated and re-stretched to one side. Starling’s paintings do not assume an animistic role – where a Parrino-slumped canvas reflects a psychological state – and instead feel more concerned with formal and material aspects. Each of her works showcases a different weave of raw-canvas for example. Her emphasis is not on the destruction of painting, but perhaps its deconstruction – like a chef reworking a classic recipe – and they are delivered with a great sense of future potential.” Simon Bayliss (Review of Jerwood Painting Fellowships 2013, JVA at Jerwood Space, London)