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.

 

Our Museum

 

Our Museum was a three-year programme funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation involving nine UK museums and galleries working collaboratively with community partners in ways that embed community voices. See www.ourmuseum.org.uk

This piece of participatory art developed over the two days of the first peer review conference. Delegates included museum management, staff, volunteers and community partners. The artwork created an invitation for people to respond – sharing their thoughts, ideas, reactions, feelings, emotions in real time as the review took place.

Different coloured tracing paper reflected different categories and feelings. The anonymity of the window allowed freedom of communication in a way that face to face conversation did not. The positioning and ratio of colours created snapshots of the mood of the event.

A feedback loop emerged, as the participants started to comment not just on the conference and the programme but on each others contributions to the window.

 

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.