The artist capturing water with code
January 14, 2015

Sophia Collier carves liquid moments in time, making incredible shimmering sculptures that capture fluid waves with computer code

Natural and man-made worlds merge in the undulating surfaces of Sophia Collier’s acrylic water blocks. Capturing the light that catches and defines a rippling lake or river, her striking sculptures draw on the simplest and most immediate of inspirations.

Her craft is based both in computer coding and in business, hardly the first tools that spring to mind for an artist’s inventory. “I consider industry to be my artistic tool box. I like to use tools from high technology, whether hardware or software,” explains Collier, who draws upon her varied background as both an entrepreneur and investment strategist. “When I create computer code for a water surface, I am reaching into my imagination and looking to express an emotional feeling with a particular surface of water,” she explains. These codes are applied to the acrylic using her specially designed machinery, which imitate the movement of waves blown across water, before being hand finished by Collier.

Her initial attraction to water came from walking over a bridge and wishing that she could seize a piece of the rippled surface to preserve and keep. “I imagined my hands reaching into the water and selecting the moment to pull the plank of water away.” Collier extends this moment in her work. “I am using new technologies to create structures to focus light into a permanent embodiment,” she says. “I see water surfaces as both instant and ancient.” Her work suggests this timelessness while retaining a finely tuned modernity in its form.

Collier’s clarity of vision and its stripped back realisation continue a minimalist tradition. She acknowledges this, explaining, “Certain minimalists have found their materials or subjects in the desert or in the built world, and my subject is water and the light that comes from it.” Her man-made materials and process create an intriguing contrast with this most natural of references, creating strikingly contemporary pieces that are both fluid and precise.

Art and technology sit side by side in her working process, using a large CNC router with a 5' by 10' worktable as a creative tool. Unlike many prominent artists who choose to assign assistants or external manufacturers to build up their prototype, Collier’s technique and working practice is solely her own. ‘”I have no problem with those who use fabricators, but I feel that using outside manufacturing takes away from my process,” she says.

 

Certain minimalists have found their materials or subjects in the desert or in the built world, and my subject is water and the light that comes from it.

 

These techniques are set to come closer still to personal experience, with Collier planning to extend her recent exploration of sound waves in shaping some of the turbulence areas of the river form. “I want to continue making work where an aspect of human experience is part of the water and light,” she says. It is a balance that runs through her process, a slice of the natural world channelled through the creative technology of today.

For more information on Sophia Collier's work, click here

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