Sophie Mason’s practice uses accessible routes into the monumental subject of nature. A nagging, joggling attempt to engage with culture, environment, community and what it means to be part of an ecosystem.
Gardening, performative painting, functional sculpture and drawing are the basis of her work. Mainly on the edges of a city where, between the train tracks and the road, lies a space rich with potential.
Mason’s current work, Blanket Landscape, involves dyeing large rolls of canvas with plants from the local area. Then, over a period of many months, using the fabric of the canvas as an intermediary for ritualised action within nature.
Washing it in the sea, burying it in sand and soil, tying it to trees, rubbing herbs, ash and coal into it. She uses materials from the immediate surroundings to dictate the canvas’s patina, without attachment to the outcome. The residual build up of stains that occur through these actions creates a map of time, land, care and the physical body on the blanket.
In exhibiting the work she plays with the Blanket Landscape, returning it to a canvas, that great and ubiquitous medium of a work of art. Cutting and stretching small fragments of the cloth onto bars, curating its evolvement into a hung painting; allowing parts of the fabric to limply hang as a simple blanket or at other times manipulating its form into something altogether different.
In this work Mason explores the idea that significance can be accumulated through time, wear and affection. Just as a well loved object deteriorates with lifelong love, these works hope to exhibit the residue of care built up over months of actions between artist and environment.