Sophy Rickett's minimal, detached and largely monochrome work defies the principles of three dimensional illusionism that we so readily associate with the photographic image. Her work is predicated on the tensions that exist between depicting subjects and the undeniable reality that a photograph, like a painting, is essentially a two dimensional flat surface; a condition which continues to fascinate artists, but one which Ricketts carves out with a distinctive authorship. Rickett's pictures, that foreground a solitary or limited range of subjects, a tree or thicket, a theatrical curtain, a bridge, an isolated figure, force us to continually weave between what the artist Hans Hofmann termed 'the push and pull of the picture plane'. We can at once, look at Rickett's lush, dense and apparently negative pictorial space as an acute exercise in abstraction, or equally be drawn to the narrative elements - and their uncertain and foreboding atmospheres – that are eking out an existence amongst the pervasive minimalist enclosures.
Against this disciplined and rich modus operandi, Rickett's excursion into the world of the moving image and sound in the captivating and elegant work, Auditorium, co-authored with the composer, Ed Hughes – and presented for the first time in Wales – asks a similar set of charged questions about the structure and form of the medium of film. Here the subject revolves around the inner workings of Glyndebourne Opera House, where the structures of the production process are stripped bare. Lighting tracks and gossamar-like backdrops take centre stage in a controlled and crafted display of light and shadow, with each evocation underpinned by a dramatic and eloquent musical score that seeks to foreground the sublime mechanics of this operatic phenomenon.
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