Despo Sophocleous


September 30 – October 28, 2023

Opening reception in presence of the artist Saturday, September 30, 1 to 5pm

To see the new pieces by Despo Sophocleous: Detours

Montreal, September 19, 2023 – From September 30th to October 28th, Nova Scotia-based artist Despo Sophocleous will present her newest exhibition Detours at Noel Guyomarc’h Gallery. Her latest series of wood neckpieces will be unveiled for the occasion, building on the work she has been doing in the past decade all the while exploring new ways to collect, transform and assemble wood, in a manner that is both controlled and spontaneous.

Time, place, memory and movement are important themes throughout Despo Sophocleous’ practice, and fundamental to these investigations is the body. Through a practice informed by walking, documenting and working with found materials, the artist engages directly with her surroundings. After working with planed sheets of kiln-dried wood in her previous works, Sophocleous became invested in a desire to find tools and materials that could be portable and adaptable and thus came her investigation of wood carving from found damaged or discarded tree branches collected during her daily walks. Either storm-fallen or discarded at demolition sites, these branches find continuity to their story rather than being fixed at the point where their story ends. For each specimen, Sophocleous documents the date, tree type and geographical location of her finding, and these coordinates become the title of each resulting jewellery object.

Despo Sophocleous

The artist’s controlled actions in combination with the unpredictable nature of wood are what ultimately determine the surface, form and movement unique and specific to each piece. Some pieces show variations of colour caused by fungi, while others present curves that are the result of the wood’s splitting pattern. Through the use of a simple knife and axe carving techniques, each necklace is created from a single part of a branch. The repetitive action of splitting and removing material mimics the fractal growth pattern of a deciduous tree, in which each branch continuously splits into new branches through a changing yet repetitive process. Similarly, the small variations in the artist’s gestures impact the outcome of each piece, thus resulting in the impossibility of obtaining the same form twice. Embarking on this new creative direction and embracing the inherent randomness of this work, Sophocleous explores our relationship to place, change and transformation.

Despo Sophocleous

Born in Nova Scotia, Despo Sophocleous holds a BA with a Major in Philosophy and a Minor in Anthropology from Cape Breton University, as well as a BFA in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. In 2015, she completed her graduate studies at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts under Professor Otto Künzli. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and can be found in both private and public collections including the Sammlung Danner-Stiftung (Germany), the CODA Museum (Netherlands) and the Pureun Culture Foundation (South Korea). She is the recipient of several awards, among them the Charlotte Wilson-Hammond / Visual Arts of Nova Scotia Award and the Lieutenant Governor Award from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, the Herbert Hofmann Prize, and in 2020 she was short-listed for the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize. She has received support for her work from Arts Nova Scotia and the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2017, she presented her series Echoes in a solo show at the gallery.

The artist thanks Arts Nova Scotia for its support.

Despo Sophocleous

An opening reception will take place at the gallery on September 30th, from 1 to 5 pm, in the presence of the artist. The exhibition will run until October 28th.

For further information:

Noel Guyomarc’h [email protected]

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