ART REVIEW Sofia Stevi @ BALTIC, Gateshead | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Sofia Stevi, just like honey 2016. Courtesy The Breeder, Athens

Athens-born Sofia Stevi’s first solo presentation in a public institution is the portal to a deeply personal, sub-psychedelic feminine dreamscape; gushing with sweeping lines and bold colours, a world of overwhelming and often deeply erotic abstract imagery made flesh and committed to untreated cotton pinned directly to the wall or stretched over frames.

Bringing together a wide range of references – from the writings of Victorian poet Christina Rossetti, to found images on Instagram and textiles designed by the women in her family – this new exhibition features a whole fresh body of work from the artist alongside a selection of recent works and an archive of her paintings housed in a collection of hand-stitched books.

Strikingly reminiscent of a softer vision of the eighties Memphis group aesthetic, pastel-neon pinks and oranges dominate as broad and energetic strokes of lush black Japanese ink pick out recurring images – disembodied wombs and hands; hair, flowers and fruit; breasts stretched into squirting udders. Single block colour sculptural pieces erupt from the walls between the pieces as deft pieces of postmodern mischief, while an adroit feminine response to Picasso’s Guernica dominates the space.

Playful and hallucinogenic, Turning Forty Winks into a Decade invites viewers to walk alongside the artist exploring a dreamworld fuelled by ruminations on literature, philosophy and the everyday, a land of subconscious desire made real.

Sofia Stevi’s Turning Forty Winks into a Decade exhibitions runs at BALTIC, Gateshead until Sunday 22nd April.

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