Sophia Flood combines painting with collecting objects

KAITLYN SPECHT

Arts & Life Editor

When walking through the streets of Granville, the cracks in the sidewalk do not really catch much attention.  Nor do the windowsills outside of the quaint shops, or the cracks in the concrete road.  These areas, however, the spaces which seem like a divide, are what catch the attention of artist Sophia Flood.

Flood came to visit on April 6 as part of the Vail Visiting Artist series, presenting her artwork which brings together sculpture and paintings in an exploration of spaces.

When Flood moved to Lancaster, Penn. after college, she viewed her art as an exploration.  She said that she was like a kid, taking in details, especially the ground and the windows, collecting little fragments.

“Once you realize it’s okay to do that [collecting little fragments] with stuff…you can do that with ideas,” Flood said.

She recalled that once, she found a thin piece of plastic on the ground and instinctively picked it up.  The next day, she discovered that it was oily, the next day sweating.  Flood described it as if it was a living thing.  It was then that she realized it was not plastic, but Swiss cheese.  It might have seemed obvious to the audience she was presenting to, Flood said, but to her it was like rediscovering something, and that was what she wanted to do with art.

Flood liked to create art installations in which the individual pieces were not as important as the way they worked together.  “It wasn’t about making a single thing, but multiple things bouncing off each other,” Flood explained.  For example, she created multiple paintings dealing with expectations of adolescence which sat above a round stage.  They worked together to “blur the psychological space between inside and outside,” she said.

As a young artist, however, Flood’s habitual collection of items, which many would call junk, was beginning to cause logistical problems.  Friends would visit her studio and not be able to tell what was art and what was not, Flood explained, and she also had issues with the space in her studio, given that it was quickly filling with her collection.

So Flood became selective about the things that she picked up and moved more in the direction of painting from memory.  Flood said that she was “letting the painting process dictate the image.”

But what does that mean exactly?  Flood explained that the painting experience is very much about thinking, but it’s also about moving.  Painting is “such a cerebral space, but I’m working with my hand,” she said.  The mind in this case, is considered the “third hand,” almost like a subconscious guiding the choices in the painting.

The paintings “happen first in my thinking…[it has the]strongest presence in my mind,” Flood said.

Similarly, the “third hand” guides Flood in choosing what objects to pick up, and how to incorporate them in her artwork.

As the last art talk of the academic year, Rain Yan ’16 found Flood’s presentation inspiring.  “You get inspired by seeing all these people doing stuff,” Yan said.  “I appreciate these opportunities as a senior… it inspires me to do more stuff on my own.”

Flood’s art, which draws so much from the mundane world and the in-between spaces, shows students to be observant and to explore like an artist, to pull from those experiences and things which might seem like junk and turn them into art.  As a concluding artist talk for the academic year, the talk was inspiring for many by seeing art being made from the everyday world.

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