Sophie Vallance’s Way of Translating Life with Autism

The Glaswegian artist’s paintings cleverly transcribe the viewers with many elements that make up an autistic person’s experience of reality, particularly social interactions.

Vallance covers themes such as lack of eye contact, stillness and a large imagination in a beautifully nuanced way as well as looking at themes such as poise, bravery and tenderness which are all too often left out of conversations surrounding autism.

The nuanced way in which Vallance works invites the viewer – whether autistic or not – to enter into her world and perspective very tangibly. Her paintings are an effective simulation of what it’s like to navigate the world not only as a neurodivergent individual but as simply, Sophie. 

Stillness is a running theme in Sophie’s paintings, whether that’s a person pausing before taking a bite out of a burger or enjoying the feel of their forearm as they have a smoke (complete with a symbolically loaded feline tattoo on their bicep). These moments are captured and made immortal in her paintings, and the thick, sumptuous strokes of oil paint that are applied to her work in wet on wet layers add to the feeling of joy Sophie is experiencing while creating.

While Valance’s second solo exhibition, Bad at Life (Good at Painting), at London’s Guts Gallery just came to an end, it won’t be too long until her work finds its way in front of you.

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