The first three things that pop into my head when I look at Sofia Arnold’s paintings are ‘whimsical,’ ‘fun,’ and ‘dark,’ as if in these pieces, one doesn’t really exist without the other. None of those words do her paintings justice, as they don’t encapsulate the entire oeuvre of these works: they’re a double-edged knife sheathed in something sweet. Reminiscent of fairy tales and folklore, these paintings have an illustrative quality that hedges at a narrative we’re probably not meant to fully grasp.
Especially attractive to me are her use of rich greens and jewel tones that bring about a feeling of woodsiness and a certain mystery associated with being ‘out there.’ Figures, animals, and foliage dot strange, stage-like scenes, giving the feeling that we are able to oversee a private moment, sometimes tense, from our spot above, perhaps perched in a tree. It’s this covert, silent observation that we as the viewer are able to participate in, which brings these works to life.
Sofia Arnold is based in Chattanooga, TN and currently has work in a group exhibition called Out of Madison at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, featuring seven artists who studied under Fred Stonehouse at the University of Wisconsin-Madison–on through 17 January, 2016. More work and information can be found at sofia-arnold.com.
All images are copyright Sofia Arnold (sofia-arnold.com) and used with the artist’s permission.