Sophie Layton's colourful splash at Eames Fine Art

Intensely coloured, light-filled works play with expectation

London-based printmaker Sophie Layton’s intensely coloured, light-filled work is attracting a growing number of collectors, and Vincent Eames, director of Eames Fine Art, is expecting good things from her latest exhibition, which opens at the Bermondsey Street gallery today.

The new show demonstrates the impressive range of Layton’s printmaking skills – not to mention her resonance with the colour-saturated work of her father, glassblower Peter Layton – and begins with a series of evocative etchings she made following a visit to Japan in 2014. While there, she began taking long, night-time walks through each city she visited, and the neon lights and sharp contrasts created by the electric, artificial light she saw are beautifully captured in photo-etchings such as Osaka Nightlife (£1,100, second picture).


The second series consists of more domestic, interior scenes reminiscent of Hockney or Hamilton, which she has made by combining pencil drawings with carborundum printing techniques (she pours the finely ground metal over a fibreglass glue).

Again, Layton’s use of colour and light are immediately arresting, but in these works she focuses on small, intimate details such as the shadows cast by a plant pot or the veins on a leaf (such as in House Plant I and House Plant III, £900 each, third and fourth pictures respectively).

The exhibition closes with a set of photo-etchings inspired by Layton’s fascination with the imperfections of old photographs. Now that we can digitally edit our photos, we rarely save any that are badly composed or poorly lit, but family albums made in the pre-digital age are full of these less-than-perfect images. Layton has taken her favourite flawed shots from her family archive and then manipulated them by working into the colour and detailing on the printing press – such as Amongst the Party Streamers (£480, first picture). The result is a set of fascinating compositions that provide both surreal and genuine snapshots of the past.


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