Sophie Verbeek was born in France in 1962. She moves to Italy and grows up in England where at the age of 15, she is initiated to different artistic techniques like calligraphy, drawing, knitting, painting or print making. After studying Business Administration in Reims (France) and London, she marries and returns to her native country. She moves to Dijon, follows a course on History of Art and discovers the works of Dotremont, Hartung and Alechinsky. At the same time, she studies historical calligraphy and painting. Her interest in Graphic Arts comes to its turning point when in 1996, she moves to Belgium and meets Roger Willems. She then takes a few workshops in Belgium, England and France. Her understanding of a more poetic approach, comes with Brody Neuenschwander : he encourages her to research into a free, liberated gesture far from pure esthetics. That concept is strengthened during her ten year participation with the artistic group the “Black fingers”. For another eight years, she continues her personal research with the graphic line, color and textural rythm.
In 2013 she integrates the l’Atelier Vert Lumière of Art Therapy driven by Gerald Quitaud, in order to seek a better understanding of herself. This therapy is based on the teachings of Swami Prajnanpad, Arnaud Desjardins and the concept of Individuation introduced by Carl G. Jung. In 2016, she decides to follow a two year course in order to become an Analytical Art Therapist. Her daily practice of Yoga and meditation also help her to create an inner space, favorable to a better awareness of the surrounding world.
She now lives in Switzerland and has exhibited in collective and private exhibitions in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and the United States. She gives artistic workshops on requests.
A way to be
Become a line
Taste a colour
Let yourself really go
Laugh till you can’t anymore
Take a step back
Sing on top of your voice
Look for your tongue
Play like a child
Dare to do ugly things
Glow without burning
Danse on the page
Scratch the surface
Leave your nest
Question even further
Accept your limits
Step away from your confort zone
Love even more………
Inspired by painters such as Dotremont, Hartung, Klee, Cy Twombly, Chillida, Zao Wu Ki or Fabienne Verdier, my research is based on the use of writing as a graphic expression.
Words are calligraphied, but also drawn, embroidered, scratched or scribbled on different surfaces using a variety of tools. Exploring the infinite possibilities of the written stroke, I allow myself to play with words in order to metamorphose them into a game of rhythmic marks, opposing the legible with the illegible, the visible with the invisible, the meaning with the non-meaning. Joyful outbursts and subtle caresses juxtapose themselves on the page, transforming the stroke in vibrant flow of energy. Words inspire, expire, sing and play in a colourful musical rhythm under the benevolent light of the present moment.
Listening to the worlds’ commotion, my work is a song to Life. Testifying, wondering and questioning the sky with an open heart, I invite the viewer to share with me the subtle and mysterious wonders of the surrounding world.
Manifest for a free line
The Line has had enough !
Enough of all these throat cutting alphabets who want to dictate what their shapes and lines should look like ! Enough of this off-putting cold, repetitive and rigid x-heights that impose their narrow point of view ! Enough of this obligation of being legible at all costs! Where has it gone the time where lines where free to play in the wind, jump in the air or sing in the rain? The time has come : the line is “coming out !”.
The line belongs to nobody. It’s free to do what it likes when it likes : to danse, to sing, to play or to fly away. It wants to live for itself and by itself. It wants to be accountable to nobody. It trust nobodies’ opinion and has decided to stop following the rules of the game. It too, is at odds with the world. It wants to break free from the hypocrisy of what a line is expected to do, or not do, what it should look like or not look like or who it belongs to.
It wants to be itself. Spit in the porridge if it feel like it, make a mess, roll on the floor or play in the puddles. Who said that the line should always be taut, beautiful and controlled ? Who can pretend that a style of line belongs to him ? Why be so possessive ? The line is a free mark and claims its rights : to be able to run, swirl and conglomerate where and when it likes, even to be able to go on strike now and then.
And if it’s cold, if it’s lonely and feels like crying ? The line has the right to shiver, to be scared or to break down. It also has the right to slowness, fulfillment and even to silence. To enjoy the pleasures of being here and now, of being contented to meditate, watching the landscapes of restless forms and shapes.
The line also has the right to become a blotch, even if it doesn’t look like a line any more. That’s all right ! From time to time, it longs for a bit of laziness, sluggishness and even of being decadent. A dirty dripping, oozing line, aaaaaaaah, what an anarchic delight ! Dripping, degrading itself and penetrating in the heart of the page, what sensual lust ! To jump in the ink, sprawl in it, swim in it and swirl to become a professional scribbler !
The line is not alone to accomplish her coming out. It has some close friends. For a start, the paintbrush called “flagadapoumpoum”, a little marvel ! It doesn’t look like anything, three hairs standing out, that’s about it. Held in any direction, by fingers that are often black with ink, it wanders on the page, detached from everything, not even thinking of its next dive in the black mixture. It pushes and pulls carefully, stroking with its not very scrupulous hairs, the page’s tense and silky tummy; The line breathes fully, free to wander carelessly, drifting with the current of its moods, free at last, from its grid keepers.
Then there is the famous ruling-pen: small, nervous and tense always in a hurry and spitting everywhere,The line has a hard job to keep it quiet, all the more since it suffers from schizophrenia and from the syndrome of”fashion”. It doesn’t hold in place and endlessly, throws marks around the page, looking for recognition at all cost. The line is sad and hopes that one day, the ruling-pen will question itself. “There are other ways of working and other approaches” says the line, but the ruling-pen stubborn and deaf, just ignores it. Luckily, the cola-pen is around. Tolerant, open, clever and confident, it has an open mind and happily welcomes the initiative of the line, for a more diverse and creative point of view.
The quill, fine, supple, elegant and light is a real princess…! But under its stiff aristocratic appearance, it hides a subtle demonic game of being a little wild beast. It just has to bend a little, position itself at an angle, opening its corset, for it to spit and sputter its most beautiful and lovely stains. But what enlightenment ! What freedom ! Brilliant, cheeky and tender all in one, the line glitters on the page.
Its a bit more difficult for the cardboard. The marks will be dry, flowing or smooth, all will depend on its temperance. Too much water and the line will lose its crispness, not enough, and it will miserably dry out. it’s all a question of subtlety and touch.
At last, the glass tube, offers raspberry, red berry or chocolate coulis, to the fluffy line. Sticky, smooth, often too sweet, the greedy and gourmet line will abound of these delicious and disturbing feasts, forgetting its claims. The line should keep its figure, no?
So, everything or almost has been said. There is no more time to lose. Go, my sugar, go and explore the magical lands of the page. Play, sing, scream or cry, but express yourself ! Speak to us of the wonders of dawn, of the wind that blows in your hair or of the stone that shines in the sun. Search, dig and find what you are looking for. Make us dream ! Don’t follow anybody elses point of view and stay yourself…