Ruark Lewis on Sophie Coombs


SOPHIE COOMBS - "X marks the spot"
'Front Room' Sydney
Autodidactic: a drawing and an etching.

Sophie Coombs shows a room- piece empowered by its sense
of absence. In this room is juxtaposed two gestures. They are collected together in the spirit of a spontaneous improvised mark. Here the sign is abstracted to form a brooding dialogue. It's sensability is that of the autodidact. In the pristine white gallery environment, a space so white that an X cross that she struck directly on one of the walls becomes an action, a taunt, a sign of its own limitations. This crossing action is set up theatrically, and one might suspect it as a strategy the artist uses to insure that viewers inspects the small etchings on the opposite wall with a new respect. Her
drawings are densely surfaced haptic affairs, laboured over yet maintaining fresh movements and surface tension. Her compositions spread like riverlets and lines in complex sets of overlay. Her game of figure-ground oscillate in an unsure paradox. A baroque sense of space. That might become but draws you back. Does Sofie Coombs have a cross to bear?

Hardly, this current showing the walls accomodate
another set of 'marks'.These are the first etchings she has exhibited. The outcome of a new experiment incorporating print media. The lines remind me of Dieter Roths drawings for their wilfulness, yet the scale here is minature by comparison. Full of agile movements and surface penetration. This is subterrainean territory, a slow unfolding psychic drawing of an artful tactician. And for this I think they are very interesting.

Ruark Lewis