Sophy King

Art, Landscape, Environment

Gold River Bed

Environmental Art Installation, I-Park Foundation, Connecticut, 2016

The site is a dry river bed during a drought. This work is like an offering to the gods of rain. I am playing with ideas of value and worth, using humble moss and concrete alongside precious gold.  At the end of the day the missing element is the most precious one of all – the water that should be running freely down the creek.

concrete, gold leaf, moss

Rehabit

Rehabit, 2016, environmental installation, I-Park Foundation Connecticut

reclaimed doors, rebar, moss

The sculpture sits in a clearing in 500 acres of forest in Connecticut USA, the site of a vernal pool.  Rehabit was my first project to be completed during my residency at I-Park.  Recycled doors are cut into letters and covered in moss.  The site is a vernal pool and as the doors slowly rot down they form a new habitat for the moss, fueling a cycle of growth and decay.  The concept of rehabitation links into my research on regeneration in cities, and the word REHAB has so many negative connotations I though it was interesting to site it here; within such a natural, wholesome environment.  The relationship between ‘natural’ and ‘manmade’ is at the heart of this piece.

 

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Residents(Residence)

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  Collaborative project with the Landscape Architect Dorothy Bothwell

This project is part of a conceptual series of habitat enrichment interventions at the I-Park Foundation

The sculptural form of the incubator cages (in this case a tower) protect young native beneficial plants.  As the form breaks down, the plants take over and begin to colonise the site, improving biodiversity.

In this case the introduced plant is the Marginal Wood Fern, Dryopteris marginalis.  The project can be expanded to take on different typologies; meadow and marshland as well as woodland. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile Meadow (Manifested)

 

Native plants grown into felt and mounted on board

This meadow is fully mobile and can be set up in various incongruous urban settings, guerrilla art style.  It alludes to conservation, sustainability and the control of nature.  Here it is presented at ArtWork Atelier as part of the Manifest Festival 2015.

What is natural and what is manmade?  I am interpreting the mechanics and reality of what is a managed landscape and what is a natural one, recognising the incoherence between popular perception and reality. The truth is that what most people recognise as ‘natural’, the British countryside, is the product of thousands of years of human management. Here is a meadow, obviously ‘artificial’ and yet no less natural than one in the rural landscape.

Man imposes a geometry, an order, on our environment for our own purposes. In the end nature takes possession of it, creating the Great British Countryside. What we end up with is a balance between control and chaos.

What we initially create can become an ecosystem, benefitting animals and plants. which in themselves loop around to enrich our lives. There is no reason why we can’t bring these benefits to the heart of a city via green corridors, green roofs, and sustainable drainage systems. A meadow on a building site, or a car park, or on a roof can bring pleasure and ecological improvement.

The work references the concept of ‘Hedonistic Sustainability’ espoused by the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels; there is value in the process of human pleasure, conservation can not only benefit the environment but at the same time can enhance quality of life and human enjoyment.

 

Birds Of Passage

Birds of Passage is an LED Board commissioned by the RSPB for their sculpture trail at Fairhaven Lake, Lancs.  The board is programmed with animations, information and live updates.  The area is one of the most important estuaries for migratory birds in the country and Birds of Passage acts as an arrivals board, telling visitors what species are in the estuary and where they have come from.

Reach Art Festival

Reach was a programme of artist-led public engagement devised to tie in with my commission for landscape designs for the regeneration of the promenade at St. Anne’s. A second artist, Sarah Jane Richards, was commissioned to design signage for the stretch and we collaborated on the public engagement side of the commission. We provided 16 different workshops, engaging a total of 335 people in the sessions.

To celebrate the project we ended up putting on The Reach Art Festival, attended by 800-1000 people.  The festival showcased local artists and performers, as well as animating an underused part of the promenade.  There was an art market, bands, Punch and Judy, a storyteller and even a mini double decker for rides.

You can see more details at https://reachartproject2014.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/reach-art-festival-2014/

Pods

 

Concrete, steel, glass

These sculptures comprise repeated elements, fitted together to create the work. The parts are not quite mass- but maybe midi-production.
They have potential for multiple variation.
The recurring components evoke the idea of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

These are both totem and wayfinding sculpture.  Looking through the inset lenses gives an alternative view on the surroundings, inviting you to find your own reality.

 

 

Reach Art Project Designs

The Reach Art Project’s community engagement program led to designs for the regeneration of the Promenade at Lytham St Anne’s.  The concept is to create a bold new multi-functional public space. Plenty of seating and lighting are installed to make a space for meeting, chatting, picnicking.  Space is retained for everyday parking, which is transformed into an arts and crafts market on special occasions.  Further towards the swimming pool is a circular space which can be used for events and performances. 

The designs for this part of the promenade blur the boundaries between different elements of the area and create connections between the distinct character areas of the town, the promenade and the beach/dunes.  Sightlines are opened up and emphasized to create more connection and help wayfinding

We delivered workshops to several schools and community groups in the area as well as drop-in workshops around the town, and the project culminated in the Reach Art Festival that animated the promenade.

 
 

Guerilla Greening – with Helen Meade

 

The Big Green Weekend, Hebden Bridge, 2008concept drawings and execution of random acts of greening with a shed and a shopping trolley

We worked with objects common to the urban environment, and a variety of plants to create sculptural interventions to spark the imagination. Our intention was to radically change them and the way they are usually perceived. We took the negative connotations of a “carbon footprint”, and transformed it into a “growing footprint” that can be celebrated.