Sophie Smorczewski BA (Hons) Fine Art

The dappled light that flickers through swaying trees has always mesmerised me. Their shadows wink at you before mutating into the circle of continuum. Through my artwork, I try to mimic natures ever-evolving rhythms. I am fascinated by the interconnectivity of the natural world. How trees communicate via an underground network of fungi or how termite colonies construct their intricate systems. Through abstract mark-making, my meandering forms explore relationships within the landscape. Energetic line and fluctuations in both colour and surface reflect the budding young greens of spring in harmony with the ancient root structures that lie below them.

The boughs and hollows of ancient trees are a huge influence for me. Despite their solidity, they reveal the movements and surfaces of seasons past. The work of artist Lucy Dodd lead me to develop handmade paint out of organic matter. When created, the natural pigments remain cemented to their time of extraction. As seasons progress, the paint represents a fleeting moment of the past, like the ancient trees. In using these organic pigments, the work gains a life-span. As these decay, the painting continues to evolve. The earthy tones also release sweet smells, granting the viewer a multi-sensory experience. I continue to collect and re-use ‘paint chips’ from previous pallet scrapings within my practice. This allows the memories of past paintings to be bought back to life, creating a constant cycle.

Working en plein air allows me to be fully immersed in my subject matter. I respond to these surroundings by exploring painting as an open process. One where mind is lead by body and the hand becomes the second brain. When a mark is made, infinite possibilities appear and I work these ideas out on the canvas. My paintings stand to celebrate the joyful energy but also fragility of the environment, so that viewers may pause to reflect and reconsider its vital importance to us all.

MAFA Award Winner