That most recent trip to Berlin was when I met Sophie Iremonger. I've gotta say, I immediately thought she was the coolest, nicest, funniest girl. I was surprised that she was so friendly when I met her, I expect sublimely cool people to be rude, or mean, or aloof, but she wasn't any of those things. I think maybe the first or second thing she said to me, after we were introduced, was something along the lines of "What's your guilty pleasure?" I don't remember what the exact question was, but within about a minute of meeting me, she had coaxed me into giving both her and La JJ a breathless description of my favorite pair of sweatpants (my guilty pleasure). Later that week, La JohnJoseph took me to see some of Sophie's paintings at an art show in Neukölln. Even if I hadn't been charmed by Sophie's personality, which I was, I would have been charmed by her paintings.
Wreckage with Nectar
Sophie's work is complex, kinetic and sort of demented (in a good way). Counter-intuitive logic. You can see more pictures of her work online, such as on HER BLOG which mercifully has detailed photos of the pieces. Check out the archive of her older work as well.
Unwanted seduction in pleasure city
Boy Genius Travis Jeppesen wrote a typically fantastic article for Art In America about the art scene in Berlin, and I think aptly described Sophie's aesthetic as "a radical primitivism". He also got this scintillating quote from Sophie:
"Glamour, the erotic and nostalgia: those are the building blocks of my practice," says painter Sophie Iremonger, who moved to Berlin after finishing art school in her native Dublin in 2008. "I'm not an old master painter," she asserts. "I'm a woman. And I'm here now."
Life and Death at the Pleasure Dome II
The cool thing about Sophie's work is that in person it is overwhelming. It's like catching up with your best friend from summer camp. It is dizzying, intimidating, but also seductive, and with multiple points of access. The menagerie of recognizable animals, modernist lingo, and deliberately Layered Layers all leads you into Sophie's day-glo psychedelic fantasy. And if you're in NYC right now, you have the opportunity to be here now with Sophie and her work. Her work is going to be part of an exhibition at the La MAMA Galleria, and she is raising funds so that she can come, herself, to the show. PLEASE GIVE HER YOUR MONEY. Even a little bit.
I think it's going to be a very special show. Not least because it's being organized by Miss Matt Nasser, and will also feature Stevie Hanley, another legendary Berlin-based artist featured in Travis' article. Or, I should say, ex-Berliner, since Stevie recently relocated to Chicago to continue her painting studies. This is going to be a very special show, and I would very much like it if you people could give a buck or two to Sophie's travel budget!
Some of Stevie's brilliant work:
Inside Mountain Looking Out
Rain Down The Harvest
I don't normally write about fundraising for other people's artwork, for a number of really good reasons, but I did recently mention this upcoming project by Sally Johnson -x- B.CALLA: A Alternatives, because I threw them some cash, and I thought it looks like a cool project, and it got funded! So it's possible.
Speaking of cool European Artists you should support, art star Stuart Sanford is working on a very ambitious project, SEBASTIAN, and could also use your help. Please check it out!
Finally, I forgot to post this earlier, but there's a new video by Brontez' band The Younger Lovers, which is blowing my mind. So beautiful, so tough.