Sophie Milner is a London-born artist and poet, and it’s in the capital where she lives and works. Her current exhibition in Edinburgh’s prestigious Arusha Gallery is titled SLEEPWALKERS and features fourteen oil painting inspired by the sleeping and the waking world, lucid dreaming, shape shifting, and a pagan approach to merge with nature.

However, upon looking at some of the painting one can also detect more ‘modern’ influences, in particular from the world of film. Movies like The Wicker Man or Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari (but most certainly NOT Stephen King’s 1992 horror film Sleepwalkers) spring to mind.
The paintings invite to delve deep inside the subconscious and every spectator will have their own ideas and interpretations of the Sophie’s work, which is undoubtedly sensual, occasionally even bold in its metaphorical meanings.
‘How the Night in Me Finds’ (see image) is dominated by nocturnal blue hues, a female wearing a hat and tribal face paint looks over her shoulder on which a dark hand or paw or even tree branch is placed. Already we’re drawn into the mystery as to what it is that rests on the woman’s shoulder, and her facial expression is that of surprise, alarm, and aloofness all at once.

The title painting ‘Sleepwalkers’ is in a similar vein, we only get to see female legs as they walks through a nightly field but are they merging with the ground or is the ground merging with the human beings? ‘Heathen Spring’ exudes warm tones and the riches of a pagan harvest festival such as Lammas – meat, fruit, flowers, birds and so forth blend together for a visual feast, while ‘Golden Girl’ depicts a girl and a snake gazing at each other transfixed, while a surreal tree branch at the top left corner suggests a half-eaten apple.

Sophie is also known for her record cover artwork for musicians such as Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons, who in 2011 commissioned her to embellish an antique piano for an installation in London’s Hyde Park. An appreciation of folk music led her to the heart of the British folk revival that has emerged in recent years. Past collaborations include special edition releases with the prestigious Vinyl Factory, pop up CD cases, picture-engraved vinyl, secret prints in gatefold sleeves and five-foot hand printed posters.

SLEEPWALKERS is on show until September 27th at:

Arusha Gallery
13 A Dundas Street
Edinburgh EH3 6QG