Sophia Ainslie’s "in person"

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Sophia Ainslie’s mural in progress on 1/30/13 at the Kingston Gallery

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to meet with Sophia Ainslie, a South African artist who’s currently working on a mural at the Kingston Gallery in Boston’s South End. Right now I’m working on an Artscope post about this new show “in person,” but I needed to write something else too because it was just so incredible to watch that mural come to life. 
Mural with projection.
Sophia had three trained assistants painting while I was there, two up on ladders filling in bright colored sections and one standing, tracing the lines coming from a projector. The projector contained a zoomed in section of the wall’s intended design, made with a computer that was used to combine works from “Fragments,” the drawing series Sophia has been working on for the past four years. 
Sophia Ainslie (right) instructing an assistant. 
She made a number of murals from this same series last year, but this is the first time she’s ever used assistants. She told me she wanted to see how much of the work she could give away, kind of like Sol LeWitt but without giving it all up – more like Frank Stella she said. She wants the concept to be hers, but she was still very particular about how the assistants painted, she trained them and walked them through the process, overseeing the wall’s development every step of the way. “I’m a painter,” she said, “I’m seduced by the architecture of paint.”
Paper works for “in person” at the Kingston Gallery
The lined sections of this feathered, almost camouflage-like design, were inspired by landscapes, but the ones seen beneath her feet so that she’s involved in what surrounds her. The colored bits are abstracted interpretations of her mother’s last X-ray, before she made the decision against surgery for cancer at the age of 82. Sophia has been developing this series since her mother’s passing in 2009, and now the horizontal large-scale medium of the mural is allowing for a release, “This is more about a letting go,” she said, “all the other images were vertical and more about the body. This is a release of her.”
Sophia Ainslie (right) instructing an assistant. 

Mural with finished design taped up.

See more of Sophia’s work on her website here.
And read more about this show in my Artscope post!

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