Born in 1972 in Penzance, Cornwall, Sovay Berriman has a dedicated belief in the power of fantasy and the influence of landscape and the natural environment, she uses these to create narratives which explore the potential of human lives. Moments of rest, and, gradual and dynamic action are focused upon, amidst a broader view of the context that created them. She is interested in elements of structures, parts that make a whole – each element informs the next, and expands upon the last. By paying attention to the elements of past moments we can shift perspectives of our now, and influence moments in the future. Working predominantly with sculpture, drawing and installation, Sovay also develops inclusive events and projects with a broad range of participants and collaborators.
In addition to her studio practice Sovay is an experienced educator, producer and mentor, having programmed and delivered a number of exhibitions, residencies, talks, workshops and symposia. She offers consultancy and mentoring for individuals, projects and small-scale organisations. Through all her activities she advocates questioning power structures, challenging personal boundaries and testing limits. Exploration, shared endeavour and mutual care are always at the core of her approach.
Sovay is also a Gas Safe registered plumber, and runs her own business PlumbMaid, alongside her art practice, from west Cornwall since 2016.
SOLO EXHIBITIONS and PROJECTS
2014-2018 Molluscs Hunt Wizards, seeking markers and boundaries in deserts and plains landscapes. Part of Symbol Archive, first stages of research carried out in Mongolian Gobi and parts of the Australian outback (NT and NSW) autumn 2014.
2013/14 Where Molluscs Huddle and Wizards Roar, The Agency, London.
2013 Symbol Archive: Visual Language, Spacex, Exeter, commissioned by Engagement Network.
2013 Sepulchre by the Sea, Malgras|Naudet, Manchester.
2011 Rostra for a Shifting Stage, Motorcade/FlashParade, Bristol.
2011 Rising Cities Float, The Agency, London.
2010 Entertaining at The Dust Lounge, Phoenix Gallery, Exeter Arts Centre.
2008 Cabin Tactics, North Cabin, Bristol. Public realm commission from Katherine Daley Yates.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2017 The World Made New, Pi Artworks, London. Curated by Oliver Sumner, including work from Iz Öztat and Lindsay Seers.
2016 Strange Attractor, The Agency, London
2015 Oculist Witnesses: According to Duchamp, Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston
2013 The Starseed Transmission, Enclave, London. Curated by Lucy Sames, including Plastique Fantastique.
2012 59.14 N 3.34 W, Brough of Birsay, Orkney. Performative event curated by Laura Mansfield.
2011 To Pay Respect to The Generosity of The Three-Minute Punk-Rock Song, Crate, Margate.
2011/12 The Potential for Windows and Scale, Contemporary Art Society, London.
2011 Strange Loops, Generator Projects, Dundee. A group show curated by Craig Mulholland.
2010 A Theatre to Address: in excessive structure, Cartel, London. Curated by Bridget Crone with work from Mikko Canini and Tai Shani.
2010 Malgras|Naudet at Summer House, Castlefield, Manchester.
2010 The Crystal Palace (Destroyed), Works|Projects, Bristol. Curated by Simon Morrissey, including work of Heather & Ivan Morison, Roy Voss and Melanie Counsell.
2010 A Theatre to Address, A Media Art Bath ‘festival of textual form, concrete, material, scripted and performed’ at Arnolfini, Bristol. Including work from Beatrice Gibson and Annabel Freason.
2010 This Matter, Royal Standard, Liverpool. Curated by Lucy MacDonald, Claudia Lastra and Harry Lawson. A newly commissioned piece showing alongside existing work from Ilana Halperin and Robert Motherwell among others.
2012 ||HOST||, collaboration with Laura Mansfield, The Royal Standard, Independents’ Commission for Liverpool Biennial.
2009 Control Point: A Temporary Facility, Plymouth Arts Centre. Collaboration, with Steven Paige, CPD project for early career artists, curators and writers in Plymouth.
2009 Art + Writing, co-programmer, Spike Island, Bristol. Seminars and talks exploring the relationship of art and writing; speakers included Michael Dean, Neil Mulholland and Maria Fusco.
2008-ongoing Symbol Archive, a self-led project of research and learning occurring through collaboration and the layering of ideas.
2008-2011 Founder & Producer, Artists’ Book & Zine Fair, Spike Island, Bristol. In 2011 co- programmer with Book Works and Marie-Anne McQuay, curator of Spike Island.
2007 gostopgo, Cornwall; co-ordinator/curator with Marieclaire McCabe and Chris Miller. Four- week experimental residency; six artists collaborate to produce new work for exhibition each weekend.
SELECTED REVIEWS & PUBLICATIONS
2016 How to Research: Drawing as Research, a Teachers’ Resource for Tate. 2015 Vanishing Point, commissioned essay responding to Oculist Witnesses: According to Duchamp by Laura McClean-Ferris.
2015 The Skinny, June edition, That’s Entertainment by Sacha Waldron. Review of Oculist Witnesses: According to Duchamp and interview.
2014 Sci-Fi Paganism, by Lucy Sames. Launched at Enclave, London.
2014 a-n online, An Artist-led Adventure: Memories, Markers and a Walk in the Desert article about Molluscs Hunt Wizards by Stephen Palmer.
2013 it all started when the days seemed quite plain, by Sarah Carne.
2012 The Potential for Windows and Scale catalogue, produced by An Endless Supply.
2011 Art Review, p161, Summer edition, review of Strange Loops by Susannah Thompson.
2009 Text and image in the Gothic Edition of Leisure Centre, edited by Marie-Anne McQuay.
2006 Contemporary, Issue 86, p72, review of eek by Michele Robecchi.
SELECTED AWARDS & OTHER
2018 Recipient Cultivator creative development award for creation of new work with Brickworks and John Howard Print Studio.
2018 External evaluator, Jamboree 2018.
2017 BPEC Foundation Gas, Level 3
2015 Niciec Unvented Cylinders & Water Regulations
2015-2017 Plumbing & Heating City & Guilds NVQ Level 2
2010-2012 Vice Chair, Visual Arts South West (formally Turning Point South West).
2010 Recipient of ICA A-Frame mentoring award with Maria Fusco.
2009-2017 Consultant leading to Co-Director, ALIAS, South West, UK. Mentoring and advice for artist-led initiatives.
2009 – 2010 Tutor, Plymouth College of Art.
2008 Resident Artist Spike Associates, Spike Island, Bristol.
2005 – 2008 Course Leader Foundation Diploma Art & Design, Cornwall College.
2004 – 2010 Tutor, FdA Fine Art Practice, Cornwall College.
2005 Grants for the Arts, for eek exhibition, Arts Council England.
2002 Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France; funded by the Royal College of Art.
2001 – 2003 MA(RCA) Sculpture, Royal College of Art, London
1996 – 1999 BA(Hons) Fine Art, University of East London
1994 – 1996 Foundation Dip Art & Design, Distinction, Falmouth College of Art
1992 – 1997 Housing Worker and Co-Founder of Truro Young Women’s Centre, housing & social project for young women.
Photo credits from top left: Moving Forward & Staying the Same, OSR Projects, 2015 – Alex Murdin, Marker for a Brough, Orkney, 2013 – Rebecca Maar. Middle left: PlumbMaid fitting an outside tap, 2017 – Caroline Pedler, Malgras Naudet preview, Castlefield Gallery, 2010 – Castlefield. Spaced Out conference, DACS & ArtQuest, 2018 – Art Quest. Bottom left: Moving Forward & Staying the Same, OSR Projects, 2015 – Alex Murdin , Mollusc Hunt Wizards research, Mongolia, 2014 – Caroline Murray.
All work copyright the artist