Born in 70’s London, a nomadic childhood took Archdale across Europe, with some time in Kenya. In 2000, while studying art at Cambridge Arts, she was involved in a serious car crash that resulted in a broken back and her being bed-ridden for 6 weeks. It was during this time, where she had access only to some pencils, a Pritt-Stick borrowed from the nurses’ station and the daily newspaper, that her distinctive collage technique was born. The different shades of newspaper print create chiaroscuro - a visual effect dating back to the Renaissance, characterised by contrasts between light and dark - as a way of adding three-dimensional aspects to her subjects. This is used to punctuate different parts of the human body, a face or an animal. In her nudes, the torn edges add a dreaminess to the poses she depicts.
On another level, extracts of sections of print – a picture, a headline – leap out from the image, adding depth and relevance to the story each picture tells. Here, the global financial crisis in 2008 was a major influencer in Archdale’s work. First came a nude constructed from articles written about the Lehman Brothers collapse, then a commission for a portrait of disgraced financier Bernie Madoff as well as a depiction of Gordon Brown’s ‘resignation face’ built from articles reporting on the event. Recent portraits of Andy Murray and Roger Federer further show her use of newspaper articles within her pieces.
Archdale’s debut show in 2007 (London) was sold out within 2 hours and led to commissions from a number of high-profile clients, some of them art collectors.