Opening May 26, 2022
Arushi Gallery presents “Wish You Were Here,” the gallery’s first solo exhibition by artist Sophie Kipner. This presentation of recent artworks illustrates Sophie’s personal narrative through iconic, nostalgic and unfamiliar circumstances. Taking its title from the artist’s desire to transport the viewer to another dimension, the artworks serve as vacation postcards from her fantasies.
In her practice, Sophie primarily utilizes the blind contouring technique to create figures and scenes in her own recognizable style. Exploring the boundaries of form, identity, play, and body language, the artist explores the theme of her own evolving identity by placing subtle, abstracted self portraits in many of the works as well as highlighting the myriad forms we take depending on place and surrounding. “I’ve always been drawn to line work, how the lines connect us, how they give form to a shape that we recognize as ourselves or not, how they change in time and in varying places with varying people, and how that affects personality and character. In this body of work, I wanted to try to capture the ever-shifting outlines of our own shapes, alone and interacting with others, in worlds that at once feel foreign but also familiar.
During this time of the pandemic especially, I was looking for ways to travel without ever having to leave the house, so these paintings are in a way my mind trips to places I’ve never been, with people I’ve never met, but where I’d love to be. I wanted to place myself, not as myself in a traditional self-portrait sense but rather as a placeholder to be interchangeable with the viewer so the viewer can jump in right where I am, into some of the works. What I find so interesting about blind contour is its ability to uncover emotion and its inherent element of surprise, as well as how it gives you parameters within which to make sense of it all. I was curious to see how blind contouring a scene could pick up on expression in ways that told a story between the characters involved in the moment. I have loved having the opportunity to create a body of work that delves into all these themes of multifarious self-expression and self-reflection that I’ve been drawn to for so long.”
Exhibiting Sophie’s largest body of work to date, the show gives an insight to the development of the artist’s style and push towards more narrative-based work. “Wish You Were Here” will be on view from May 26th through July 1st by appointment only Monday-Friday 11am-4pm. Opening reception will take place on May 26th from 6-10pm celebrating her artistic journey.
Sophie Kipner is an artist and writer from Topanga, California. Following a successful exhibition at the iconic Hotel Figueroa downtown Los Angeles, where she was their Featured Artist for both Q3 Summer 2019 (July-September) and Q4 Winter 2019 (Sept-January), Sophie participated in "The Hourglass Overturned" - a group show at Arushi Gallery in Los Angeles in October 2021.
Her ongoing project, DONTLIFTUPDONTLOOKDOWN - in which she primarily uses blind contouring, the technique of not lifting the pen or looking at the canvas to draw her subjects - has been featured in Forbes Magazine, KCRW, KTLA, Huffington Post, Architectural Digest, L.A. Weekly, NBC, Thrillist, The Fullest, Cinnamon Magazine, Hemispheres Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Conde Nast’s The Scene, Eat, Sleep, Draw, JustLuxe, Arte Fuse, The Topanga New Times, and Flaunt Magazine. Her works have been sold into private collections and commercial properties around the world, and have been auctioned off at UCLA’s 2018 IoES (Institute of the Environment and Sustainability) Gala and at Help Refugees, which was launched in partnership with artist Ai WeiWei, Paddle8, and The Cob Gallery in London.
The Oscar-shortlisted short documentary, “Sophie and The Baron”, directed by Alexandria Jackson and produced by herself, Courteney Cox and Joanna Natasegara, premiered at SXSW Film Festival and chronicles Sophie’s friendship and artistic collaboration with legendary Rolling Stone Magazine photographer Baron Wolman. The award-winning film has been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, Deadline, The Daily Mail, The Evening Standard, The Moveable Feast, Austin Chronicle, HorrorBuzz and The Hollywood Reporter, and has been acquired by Disney as their first original documentary, the first film under their new original documentaries banner.
Her debut novel, The Optimist - for which she also drew the illustrations - was named a “Best Summer Read” by The Daily Mail when it was originally published by Unbound in the UK in 2017, and was published in the US and Canada in March 2021. It was featured on Belletrist's popular STACKED and BRIEF newsletter, Write or Die Tribe, and Kirkus Reviews, and received praise in The Wales Arts Review, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Pool, and Shortlist. Other writing has appeared in Grazia magazine (UK), We Heart Writing, Kugelmass: A Journal of Literary Humor, Amy Ephron's One for the Table, FORTH Magazine and The Big Jewel.
Sophie hand-painted the mural at Michelin-star chef David Myers’ Adrift Burger Bar on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice, California. She also hosted Channel 101’s long-running prime-time show, Everything, which was chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick and featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. She graduated from the University of Southern California and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
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