Visual artist Sophia de Vries
I graduated in 1993 at the arts academy of CABK Kampen (currently called the ArtEZ Zwolle), in the field of monumental art design (master).
For me monumental art doesn’t have to be related to something big or comprehensive. Even more, I have a fascination for maquettes, viewing boxes and small lost objects. Etymologically it (a monument) stems from the Latin term monere, which means to recall or to warn. A monument is a sign that reminds us of something, an historical event, an important person or an experience. This is certainly the case for my work. I sculpt my thoughts and experiences into steel objects. I weld and forge them, mold them into shape, grind and polish them, until there’s an object that tells my story, or recollection. Steel offers me the opportunity to give these objects these shapes. This artisan way of working with steel allows me to create a laminated structure on my objects. You can see that creating my objects took a lot of power, even at times brute force. I finish them with dedication, loving and attention. This process creates temperate and simple sculptures and even though they are made from though materials and got treated to a harsh process, they are fragile and tender, which fits my heritage of coming from province of Groningen.
I get my ideas not only from the shapes surrounding me, but also from the rough landscapes from Scotland, Ireland, Iceland and the Shetland and Orkney Islands. Even from the primeval landscapes from Poland and Slovakia. The monumentality of these landscapes i convert into simplicity, clear drawn lines and convert them into steel.
Currently I’m working on a sequence called “Erfjes”. Small landscapes with a tree and a house on a thin line of steel. With these I’m also looking for the monumentality, even though it’s not being shaped by impressive landscapes. It’s small, touchable and recognisable. At one time it was said that my work is, “that house, that tree…” You know you’ve seen it before, but you don’t know where. This is also monumental.
Sophia de Vries, October 2019.