Sophia Maras, Delicate Issues

Artwork by Sophia Maras

Found object sculptor Sophia Maras explores the use of recycled materials and common objects in a form of mixed media artwork. With this body of work, she hopes to create pieces that will challenge people to see a beauty in objects either over-used or over-looked. Maras grew up in Louisiana where she explored a multitude of creative avenues and developed a love for order and patterns in her daily activities, which she now applies to her artistic practice.

Artist Statement:

With this found-object-based body of work, I am striving to bring attention to the beauty in the used, neglected, or insignificant objects in our world. My work emphasizes the subtle aspects of these items by incorporating large numbers of them into a unifying whole. Arranging materials such as paper, screws, or plastic grocery sacks in a deliberate, yet unnatural order presents viewers with an opportunity to investigate. These juxtapositions are intended to pull individuals out of their normal realm of thought by giving them a different perspective on the material and perhaps the opportunity to see a new beauty in some of the minute building blocks of our daily lives.

I alter many of the materials through tedious processes such as weaving, wrapping, knotting, or stitching, which places a larger contextual gap between the final piece and the material’s original appearance or purpose. Drawing viewers in with structured arrangements of color or shape, allows me to intrigue from a distance. I am fascinated with the way in which multiples can transform as their numbers increase, thus giving the viewer a range of aesthetic experiences as the they move closer to the work.

Artist Interview:

What is unique about your process and how does this define your practice?

The uniqueness of my process revolves around my time spent with the material. For some of my work, using methods such as weaving or stitching contribute a key aspect of tenderness to the work. Through repeating these steps several times, I try to meditate on the material and the process, connecting the items original purpose or form to what I hope my viewers will grasp from the final piece. This process results in a practice centered on time, focus and transformation.

What influences your work or your creative process?

The world. There are so many examples multiples around us every day. For years and years I have been amazed at the multitude of waste, recycling, and just plain ‘stuff’. Eventually, I began to transform those things into artwork: first in my mind, then in material. My purpose for this was to create something aesthetically pleasing, so that people could find a beauty in the items they see, use, and discard. Throughout my artistic development, I have discovered inspiring artists such as Vic Muniz and his work from the Wasteland documentary and Tara Donovan’s magnificent use of multiples in her installation work.

What lessons have you learned from other artists?

Production of artwork takes extreme dedication and hard work. Sometimes it can be too easy to stay in the sketching, brainstorming, or thinking stage of a piece. Regardless of life happening around you, it is so important to strictly dedicate time slots for artwork. Treating it in this structured way will force those creative juices to flourish and one’s practice to grow.

This is a hard lesson I have learned from a few artists over the last few years, and it is something I must keep working toward daily. As of recent, I was told to “just create.” No matter  how bad it was, she told me to just make sure I was creating something.

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