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

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.

 

Wave

Wave

Saltash Millennium Park, Cornwall, 2000

Aluminium and glass

Commissioned by Groundwork and Caradon County Council

The sculpture was selected from open competition and through consultation with local people. The commission included workshops with local children, talks and displays to involve and give ownership to the local community. It is situated by the river Tamar in the Millennium Park, built on a landfill site, including artworks, designed seating and railings and a BMX track. I also mentored a local artist during all phases of the commission.

The sculpture is a symbol of regeneration. It takes its inspiration from the Brunel Railway Bridge which can be seen from the site. It is made from sheet aluminium fins, slotting onto a central axis and bolted at each end.

The fins have glass magnifying lenses set into portholes along their length to distort the landscape. The idea is to visually link the surrounding area to the sculpture directly, while giving the local viewer a new perspective on their home, and on the ex-landfill park through the distortions of the lenses.

The aluminium fins which comprise the sculpture were milled at the nearby Devonport Royal Dockyards.

We used state of the art technology, more normally used to make components for nuclear submarines.

This process echoes the technical excellence and industrial prowess the area was famous for during the Brunel era.

The ‘flatpack’ sculpture was then assembled on site over a week.

Each ‘fin’ slots onto the square axel which is bolted onto a pad foundation via three footings

The whole piece is then tightened up using 80mm nuts

 

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.