Empty rooms, lonely chairs and derelict buildings. Sophie Cordery’s paintings speak of memories tied to a sense of place and human absence – themes she returns to again and again in her artwork and which the public is invited to explore in her latest solo exhibition, States of Siege, at Amanartis studios in central Watford.

Sophie’s paintings depict everyday objects and interiors in a sensitive and original way, using light, distance, colour, scale and unorthodox surfaces to challenge the conventions of painting and explore approaches to representation.

“I’m very interested in surface and experimenting in painting on different surfaces,“ explains Sophie, who moved to Oxhey 30 years ago from Rheims in France, “like old curtains, for instance! It’s partly because I like painting on linen as a canvas, which is quite expensive so I started using old skirts or trousers.“

Sophie primes the old fabric and not only does she use it as a canvas on which to paint her acrylic or oil works, but is now also taking inspiration from the textiles themselves, incorporating things like pattern and texture into her paintings.

“I started using the pattern of the skirt, for example, as part of the painting,“ says Sophie, who studied art at the University of Hertfordshire and who was artist in residence there last year, “and playing with the idea of inside and out, picking out colours, things like that, as a starting point. It’s very good fun.“

  • States of Siege is at Amanartis, The Old Free School, George Street, Watford, every Saturday in June from 11am to 3pm. Details: facebook.com/amanartis.studios