Sophie Edwards

Born and raised in Northern Ontario, Sophie lives on Manitoulin Island where she developed the non-profit organization 4elements Living Arts. Sophie’s creative work explores the relationships between land/scape and personal, historical and cultural narratives through writing, painting, mixed media, and landscape installations and interventions. For her site specific work she uses found materials, natural forms, and biodegradable drawing media to create sculptural or drawn forms in and on the landscape. Previous project have included drawing onto rock, installing plaster casts of her body into the landscape and photographing the changes over time, and creating sculptural forms with found materials. In the studio she layers photographic images of these site-specific elements/creations with text, or layers the photographs into acrylic paintings, again layered with text. In her painting, which is largely palette knife acrylic work, she is interested in troubling the landscape tradition by integrating historical, social, political and cultural texts and readings into the paintings.

While not formally trained, Sophie has taken a number of visual arts courses and workshops over the years, including several photography and performance courses at the University of Guelph, drawing in Reading England, blacksmithing and figure drawing at the Haliburton School of the Arts, and workshops with Ivan Wheale (acrylic), Judy Martin (textiles), Carl Beam (mixed media), V Jane Gordon (acrylic and drawing), Kai Chan (found object sculpture), Vivian Ripley (watercolour and pastel) among others.

Sophie is an award-winning writer, visual and installation artist. She has received a number of Ontario Arts Council grants including an Emerging Artist Grant (2005), Compass support (2004), two Exhibition Assistance Awards (2006, 2008), and two Arts in Education grants (2005, 2008). In 2008 she received a Northern Arts grant to work on a creative non-fiction project. Her work has won numerous awards at arts exhibitions, and she has participated in dozens of group shows, two solo shows, as well as several 2 and 3 person shows. She was the co-curator (and a participating artist) of the touring Willisville Mountain Project exhibition. Her writing has been published in anthologies of northern Ontario writing; and her short stories have won several awards, including the story Arthur and Agnes, which is being adapted for the stage by Debajehmujig Theatre Group. In 2009 she completed a Certificate in Creative Writing at Humber College, and an Interdisciplinary Humanities Masters Program at Laurentian University, her thesis research examining the relationship between landscape and narrative in the area between the swing bridge at the North Channel and Willisville Mountain. Currently she is working on her PhD at Queen’s in Cultural/Historical Geography.

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