The Hare and The Minotaur- Cheltenham
by Artist, Sophie Ryder
On the Promenade in Cheltenham you will find, sitting companionably together on an oversized bench and in huge scale, A Lady-Hare and A Minotaur. Not your usual sight whilst out shopping and taking in the regency style beauty of a gorgeous City such as Cheltenham!
So where have our large human-animal hybrid friends come from? Why Cheltenham? And why such mythical creatures?
Gloucestershire based artist Sophie Ryder, created the sculpture for a temporary exhibition at the Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery in 1995. The overwhelming public response to the exhibition saw a campaign to retain this particular sculpture and the Hare and Minotaur was acquired by public subscription back in 1998.
Much of Sophie Ryder’s fascinating work focuses on mythical creatures and hybrids, having captured her imagination early on and having been inspired by the works of Picasso and his depiction of the aggressive and ferocious Minotaur. Sophie describes her version of the Minotaur as “not threatening but strong, loving and protective but sometimes quite camp”.
The Lady-Hare, a human female body with the head of a hare, was created as a companion for the Minotaur. “I wanted a female body with an animal head and the hare head seemed to work really well.”
Sophie’s art has another signature-the pure monumental scale on which she manages to produce the individual works. For her the reasoning is two-fold; firstly her art is often displayed surrounded by nature or is competing against large buildings in an urban setting. Secondly she says it allows her to move around and with the art, truly working with it as well as on it during the creation process. Many of Sophies works have been displayed in luxury properties and fine homes in many places.
Sophie’s artwork has been displayed worldwide and it continues to evolve with the passing of time. Her available works are listed on her website http://www.sophie-ryder.com and further inquiries can be made from there. You can also learn more about the incredible creation process in her series of photographs and videos.
Written by: Elaine Watt
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