Sophia Ruppert GBA
“In the process of being broken open, worn down, and reshaped, an uncommon tranquility can follow. Our undoing is also our becoming.” –Terry Tempest Williams
Life leaves behind physical and mental residue. Some of these remnants are precious while others are tragic. Regardless of its origin, this residue can be made beautiful. Remnants of the materials and objects that surround us chronicle our history as complex individuals. My sculptures investigate my own physical and mental residue to dissect and examine my personal history.
To reach the rare serenity I search for, I unravel experiences that are residually prominent in my memories. Of particular importance are events and objects that have shaped my perception of self.
stories told by my grandmothers
a dysfunctional family dynamic
objects that provide visual touchstones to my childhood
These experiential fragments and memories are a testimony of personal description. My work attempts to calm the dissonance of these memories and share the resulting narrative. Ultimately, my work describes self, history, and a personal theology in transformation. This theology allows me to create beauty in spite of trauma.
Each material I use is carefully considered and manipulated. By selecting discarded materials that are worn and weathered or that contain a rich visual association, the core of my work contains an embedded but indirect history. Objects whisper.
a scrap of stained lace
fragments of a chandelier
an item that is completely unrecognizable
I analyze these whispering objects and decide if they should be lovingly preserved or thoughtfully dissected and reshaped. One method is a contemplative collection. The other is a rebirth. Both methods draw out the stories embedded within.
Central to the preservation or dissection in my work is the metaphoric act of sewing. This craft process harkens back to the traditional idea that women are preservers who mend all that is broken. Rather than the gendered practice of sewing for domestic use, however, I reclaim the act of sewing to recontextualize my experiences. I mend what is torn and tear what needs to be free. By creating from destruction, I am piecing together a complex but beautiful history.