PEEKA-FUCKIN-BOO: A Debut Solo Show by Sophie Vallance | It's 2020 For F*ck Sake – A Thirteen Artist, Back-to-Back Solo Exhibition Marathon
In addition to the collective experience of a pandemic, and the uncertainty of not knowing how tomorrow will look (let alone next year), the situation has forced me — as an artist and as a human — to confront myself, my practice, and my flaws in a new way.
“Peeka-fuckin-boo” is the title of a recent painting of mine. The painting’s a huge (oversized) lion’s face, with creepy used-car-salesman teeth and tiny, beady eyes; it stares at you with a something — something — right in your face. You’re not sure where he’s come from or why, but he’s here and you can’t ignore him.
The last six months have felt very much like a confrontation with the Peeka-fuckin-boo lion. In addition to the collective experience of a pandemic, and the uncertainty of not knowing how tomorrow will look (let alone next year), the situation has forced me — as an artist and as a human — to confront myself, my practice, and my flaws in a new way. The lion is not a negative thing, only uncomfortable; necessary.
In this examination, a second meaning came to light. I always say that there’s a magic to making paintings, and that sometimes they completely sneak up on you. I love that idea, the paintings surprising, scaring, creeping up on their maker. I’ve also looked back on old works and wondered how the hell I managed to make them; the very essence of surprise lies in a moment, and sometimes when the moment is past, the surprise loses meaning. So here I am with these paintings that have very much said “Peeka-fuckin-boo”, surprising me in ways I never expected.
Sophie Vallance’s practice as a painter is best described as an intense examination of life; a conversation with herself. Encounters from her everyday are re-imagined on her large square canvases, half reality, half fantasy. Her imagery draws heavily on animals, self portraiture, food, and her subjective reality. In turn, these are inflected by tonalities ranging from the humorous to the darkly sad. She is currently based in Glasgow but has lived in both Berlin and London, allowing her practice to naturally evolve through time and locale, tied not to particular geographical place, but instead to the experiential and how it takes on shape and distinction in hindsight. Her own voice sits at the nexus of feminist practices, cathartic art-making, processes of confession, folklore, and storytelling.
Guts Gallery and Soft Punk Magazine are proud to collaboratively present “It's 2020 For F*ck Sake”, a thirteen artist, back-to-back solo exhibition marathon, running from 24 September 2020 to 21 December 2020, first in a railway arch under Haggerston Station, and now with a return to lockdown, online through VR content.
Born from a desire to refuse the conditions of silence, paralysis, and erasure brought on by our current social and political climate, this exhibition series has been conceived as a means of exhibiting some of the most promising practitioners of the new generation, creating space for display, experimentation, and artistic ownership in an otherwise compromising market.
Actively aware of the scarcity of shows for underrepresented emerging artists, each artist exhibiting has been given full license over the space. However, this is an exhibition marathon founded in community — while each artist has a solo show, the broader ethos is one of collaboration, accessibility, progress, and collective shouldering of one another.
Once more returning to “lockdown” as of Thursday, 5th November, the remainder of the solo exhibitions will be launched and viewed through virtual reality, a viewing room via Guts’ upcoming Artlogic website and of course, Instagram. All of these platforms will be made live at the same time each week on the date the private views were due to take place. We would like viewers to engage with the works as you would in our physical space, curating an environment specific to each show and artist.
At a moment when the arts sector is on the brink of a major crisis, we are committed to continue putting our community first, paying fair wages, and providing sustained support for artists in any way we can.