I am an interdisciplinary artist whose practice spans painting, printmaking, and digital fabrication. My work is rooted in my Italian Catholic upbringing and is a vehicle for both scholarly research and personal reflection. While I still consider Catholicism to be an integral part of my worldview and heritage, throughout the years my relationship with my upbringing has become more nuanced and complex. I take a variety of approaches in my work ranging from the critical to the absurd and the humorous. There is humor in tension and juxtaposition, in subversion and inversion, in revealing banality behind grand constructions and in joining disparate worlds. I try and infuse my work with the same humor that I find when saint candles, tools of veneration and meditation, are stocked next to cans of beans and deodorant under flickering fluorescent lights.
I research the origins of Christianity, specifically Catholicism, how it evolved into its contemporary form, and what implicit meanings are present in ritual and art. My current body of work explores the feminine body as a site of contention in Catholicism and capitalism as parallel structures. Thematically, I am interested in bodies, objects, and transactions across my entire body of work. In my work, I search for areas of friction between ancient ideals and current dialogue while also highlighting areas of uncanny alignment. I am invested in the dichotomy between man-made artifice in religion and the deeply spiritual, transcendental ideas behind religion and the personal experiences it facilitates. In the space between these dichotomies I try and insert my own perspective and humor, drawing attention to this disparateness while positing alternatives. I view my art as a vehicle for my research, if that vehicle was a church mini-van spray painted with my visions of the apocalypse and candy.
I am interested in a variety of visual languages to convey meaning in my work, using classical art historical references both in composition and material choices to tie my work to pre-existing dialogues while also incorporating contemporary approaches and technologies to situate my work within current dialogues. Material study and investigation is critical to my practice; I believe that material is a vehicle for meaning even if we are not consciously aware of it. I purposefully utilize elements of kitsch and “low-culture”, such as gummy candy, to challenge hierarchies both within religion and the art world. By utilizing various approaches and materials, I invite the viewer can engage in a multi-sensory experience that reflects the multifaceted nature of religion with the end goal of encouraging reflection and further dialogue.
Sophia (Phi) Day is an artist from the Chicagoland area who currently studies and works in Boston. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. concentrating in oil painting. She also received a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Painting & Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, Day is an MFA candidate at the School of the Museum of Fine Art at Tufts University. So far, her work has been shown in multiple cities such as Nashville, Chicago, and Boston. She received the Tufts Dean’s Research Grant in 2021 and co-curated the annual Students Curate Students exhibition for Fall 2022. Her work will be featured in upcoming shows on the Tufts campus and in the Boston area in 2023.