SISTERS.2: Caroline Cole & Sophie Arup

20-24 February 2018

This is the second exhibition showcasing the work of two sisters: Caroline Cole and Sophie Arup and is curated by CO (Marcus Cole and Issy Ogden recent RCA graduates). 

Caroline works in ceramics and Sophie with paper and collage. Their highly individual but remarkably complementary work is founded on geometry and mathematical patterns that are enhanced by a rich use of colour and an extraordinary attention to minutiae.The sisters, despite working completely independently have always been surprised by the slightly eerie way their work complements and informs the other. Drawing on this, they decided to exhibit together in 2014, which was a great success and inspired them to work towards a new exhibition. Four years in the making, Sisters.2 shows a whole new body of work that highlights how both artists have moved on in the way in which they craft their pieces whilst continuing to exude extraordinary synergy despite the different mediums in which they work.

Caroline Cole has an architectural background and her work is developed around her fascination of the way geometries distort when painted in three-dimensions and how a twist to a simple shape can have a profound effect on how a surface is perceived. Her pieces are often brightly coloured with geometric patterns, sometimes inspired by repetitive configurations in nature, and sometimes founded on mathematical sequences and prime numbers. Spirals and ovals have been a particular obsession. Caroline works mainly with slip cast moulds, combining rough under glazed finishes with more traditional matt or polished glazes to add intrigue to each piece and create subtle variations in tone and intensity.

Caroline studied architecture at the University of Cambridge and spent most of her career working in design and architecture. She started making ceramics in 2012 and, finding great pleasure in the process, has focused most of her free time on making pots. Caroline is largely self -taught. Her pieces can be found in private collections in America and the United Kingdom.

“I find the combination of three-dimensional shape-making and two-dimensional pattern-making fascinating and constantly surprising, especially when colour is also brought into play. In the main, the pots in this show explore twisting oval shapes and their effect on patterns that are dictated by one dimensional mathematically rigorous linear progressions. The results are endless – and in some cases surprising.“ Caroline Cole, January 2018

Sophie’s background is in Structural Engineering, and this experience informs her work. The love of the rigour and discipline of mathematical progressions and fractals often begins with one small element or process which she then duplicates and repeats again and again. It is a time consuming and repetitive practice that is very meditative, as are the final pieces, which invite the audience to contemplate both infinity and the minute detail at the same time. The works play with symmetry and asymmetry, order and chaos, tiny and huge at the same time. Sophie often designs and experiments initially on a computer, but the final work is made by hand. The many small inaccuracies and mistakes along the way give the pieces their own life and raises them above the purely mechanical exercise that they might otherwise become.

Sophie Arup studied both Civil Engineering at UCL London and Fine Art (sculpture) at Camberwell College of Art. She works part-time for a firm of structural engineers, and spends the rest of her time making art. Sophie has taken part in several exhibitions both in the UK and in the Netherlands, and has completed commissions in the UK, France and USA. Her work can also be found in private collections in the UK.

“I am intrigued by repeating patterns, and love the way that simple repetitions can be used to generate complex structured patterns. I plan the work in a disciplined way but introduce a hand crafted and artistic approach to the making. I am always trying to bring together my engineering perspective and my more naturally intuitive approach to art.” Sophie Arup, January 2018