Monday, 18 April 2016

Discovering Sophie Ryder #Relationships sculpture in Salisbury

For our last afternoon pitched up near Bournemouth we
Temple to the 200 rabbits by Sophie Ryder 
thought, instead of getting stuck in the city traffic again, we would head in the opposite direction and visit Salisbury. The historic town is beautiful with lots of interesting architecture including the iconic cathedral which, we learned, has the tallest spire in England. We dressed up for the cold and then wished we hadn't as warm sunshine made heavy coats more of a burden than a benefit! Leaning Medieval cottages are pressed in between solid later brick built structures and very modern shopping arcades which make for a unique mix of styles. There is lots of water here too and we enjoyed a short stretch of the River Walk.

Minotaur and Hare Torso by Sophie Ryder 

Having gotten lucky with a free onstreet parking spot in
Medieval house between
more modern structures 
Trinity Road, we started by just strolling around the centre streets. Salisbury Park and Ride doesn't run on Sundays for some reason, but the Culver Street multi-storey car park is free if you can't find an onstreet space. We got a little lost in the one-way system while trying to find Culver Street. It looked so easy on the map!

A three-day Bakhtiyar exhibition of Persian carpets and rugs made for an unusual diversion. Dozens of carpets were on display in The Medieval Hall in Cathedral Close. Unfortunately there were far too many for the space so only a fraction could be properly viewed. The workmanship was gorgeous and the prices were eye-opening too - up to £15,000! Just opposite Cathedral Close, Salisbury Cathedral itself towered up into the blue sky and we were delighted to find a selection of huge galvanised metal sculptures dotted across the lawn. This was the beginning of a five-venue exhibition across Salisbury of Sophie Ryder's work which continues until the 3rd of July and is entitled 'Relationships'.

We only visited the Cathedral lawns and the Cathedral
Salisbury cathedral 
interior venues, both of which are free to view. Further work including drawings and prints are displayed at Sarum College, The Salisbury Museum and Young Gallery. I loved the hare motif which recurs throughout much of Ryder's work. Apparently she views herself as the lady-hare, often accompanied by a male minotaur. Ryder also frequently incorporates horses and greyhound-like dogs. "Her beguiling blend of human and animal forms are used as a metaphor to discuss a complex range of human emotions". Sophie was the youngest student to be admitted to the Royal Academy School since Turner and began her training there at just 17.

We both liked Salisbury very much and could have happily
Introspective by Sophie Ryder 
spent longer in the town. We managed to miss most of a motorbiking convention that had taken over the central square for the day, although we saw lots of motorcycles in the area. A high proportion of shops and cafes were open, considering we visited on a Sunday, and we rediscovered a branch of the Cornish Bakery chain that we had liked in Tavistock. In other mundane news, I finally got a new watch battery after it died on me months ago. I was loathe to buy one overseas as I had already paid for a 'lifetime' battery replacement at Timpson. This means that after a one-off payment of £11-something four years ago, I can take my watch into any Timpson branch and get its battery replaced for no extra payment for as long as I keep the same watch. I was a little dubious, but the woman at Timpson in Ferndown was friendly and efficient and the new battery was completely free.

Sitting horse with girl by Sophie Ryder 

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