statement

At work

Werxzovart, the pseudonym for artist Sonje Hibbert,  was originally established in 1996 when living on the wild Atlantic cliffs of West Penwith, Cornwall. As a misfit of the world here is an individual who takes solace from the surrounding world, in her escape to the bleak and barren moorlands up on high. Or at least tries to…

Sonje has spent decades exploring and recording her emotional relationship to landscapes and cultures through painting, photography, sculpture and clay. Never one to shy away from taking risks, it remains to be answered whether her journey is nature or nuture driven. Taken on the road in the early 1970′s aged eight, overland through India, Afghanistan and Iran in the beat up family Peugeot Estate car certainly set the scene for her adventures in later life!

By the early 1990′s, after an epic five year adventure around S. E Asia and Australasia in her twenties, most of Sonje’s paintings were exhibited and sold in the West Country region of England. It was during this time a stronger interest in ceramics and sculpture started to develop. Explorations of figurative work in the late 1990′s fused a fascination of Eastern and African Cultures with more traditional W. European styles. The sensual and at times slightly erotically charged ceramic sculptures, whilst being tactile and often humorous, on a more serious note attempted to portray the identity and cliches that surround the Western perceptions of the female form.

Since gaining an MA with Distinction in 2003  new avenues for both sculptural and 2D work began to develop. The main focus has been large scale and the language of the materials being used. Working from vast and dramatic landscapes such as Hampi – India and barren moors of Dartmoor and West Yorkshire, Sonje has managed to find method to her madness. She now creates both ceramic pieces and large scale paintings and triptych that reflect her passion for these wild emotive places. These places where sanity is restored. Even though some may argue with that…

In 2013 Sonje made the rather bold descision to up sticks from the West Country and return local to the  family roots, on border of W. Yorkshire and East Lancashire amidst the glorious landscape of the South Penines to be exact.  The opportunity to open the long standing dream of Werxzovart Studio Gallery finally came to fruition in a wonderful Grade II listed building on the historic cobbled main street of  Haworth, Land of Brontes and wild and misty moors.  Sonje has and continues to reap great artistic success, making and selling the grand ceramic vessels and very large mixed media & acrylic wall pieces and triptychs. All of which are highly collectable pieces of art, essentially inspired by the stunning and bleak landscape around Haworth and Top Withens. Places which harbour outstanding literary responses from the likes of The Bronte Sisters and Sylvia Plath.

There are times however to withdraw from the bustle. In May 2017  Sonje undertook a lengthy  eight month artistic residency on Dartmoor to focus on a new body of work, a challenge in itself, but a much needed chance to fulfil an unrequited love affair with this particular hardy moor.

New premises in Haworth in early 2018 offered the opportunity for expansion of the gallery and pottery workshop studio, from two historically converted weavers cottages situated at the lower end of Main Street. The charm of this huge building c.1789 offers a wonderful ambient and characterful backdrop to showcase the work Sonje produces related to the barren moorlands behind the historic Bronte village. Whether you want to peruse the art, make a purchase, attend a pottery workshop or have a warm drink you are most welcome to drop by. There is even ensuite accommodation available if you simply cannot bear to leave!