Sophia del Rio

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Sophia del Rio is a multi-disciplinary artists based in
Fort Worth, Texas

Sophia del Rio was born in 1982, and raised in central Texas. For a few, very hungry years she worked as a choreographer in Austin, Texas. Her curiosity of the brain-body connection led her to study Neuroscience in graduate school, while she continued to practice dance and experiment in the visual arts.

Sophia del Rio works from a place of black humor and is inspired by the contemporary world where capitalistic trappings still can’t out-maneuver mortality. She searches for personal meaning in sex, bodies and strange conceptual spaces where bodies don’t exist yet: meatspace vs virtual world, the present vs the future, etc.

Anatomy and human experience inform her paintings and sculptures. Themes of sexuality, mortality, loss of time, and mysticism place her work somewhere in the of Art History context between Max Ernst and, contemporary American artist, Kiki Smith.


Arts Fort Worth SoCur Exhibition, Fort Worth, Texas
Paintings and Sculpture

Lust and Suicide is a body of work as a direct result of my life after my father’s suicide. It was a time, lasting years, where I was barely able to feed and care for myself. Despite this, I experienced a disturbing surge of primal urges, like lust. My grief was disorienting, I didn’t recognize myself and felt possessed at times. The trauma of my father’s suicide left me changed. I felt, and still feel, like a woman searching for gasoline to put out a fire - Nothing makes sense. 

Lust and Suicide builds on my previous work using the same visual language and symbols, but has made a hard turn by incorporating the use of the human figure. The figure is myself, though I know many people could attest to their experiences of grief after a loved one’s departure. I choose not to include images of other people or even imagined people, my superstition and personal beliefs prevent me from using the images of others in a manner which could harm them.

On the Quiet Take

Art South, Fort Worth, Texas
Public Installation

We perceive time as passing, and moving forwards. The installation acts as a time capsule. The scrolls of piano paper feed through the player piano and a familiar song can be heard. The scrolls are hung and suspended around the box, and hidden fans blow the scrolls. While we can recognize the song titles, we can’t hear the music. The scrolls have dashes cut out that trigger the mechanical piano to play a note in the song. The song can play forward, and backwards by changing the direction the paper feeds. Here the songs are quiet, and unplayed.

There is a bed in the corner of the capsule, with greenware pillows and a sculpture of a life-sized stoneware rabbit. The greenware pillows will begin to crack and collapse, turning back to clay dust. As the bed deflates the rabbit will sink to the floor. The rabbit, being ceramic, is a hyperobject - an object that will outlast a human lifespan by eons.

More greenware pillows are strewn around the floor, with bisque pillows. The greenware pillows will rapidly deteriorate, and the bisque pillows will deteriorate at a slower rate and possibly begin to grow mold and other organic matter. The perception of time moving forward comes from the perspective that we only look at big things. If we were to examine the collapsed pillows, at the microscopic level, the atomic level, the molecules collide and bounce off each other in no order. Time exists both forwards and backwards, at the smallest scale, there is symmetry in time.

A reflective pillar stands at the front of the capsule, reflective objects “tell time.” We see our faces and bodies change as we age though our reflections, again perceiving a forward direction of time. On the pillar sits a sculpture of bisque cigarettes in an ashtray. The cigarettes are stacked in a precarious, and unusual way. The cigarettes are an interesting metaphor for time. They come neat and orderly in a pack, and once opened and consumed they become used, broken, and discarded in a way that reflects the phenomenon of entropy. Each cigarette could be a person’s time on their smoke break, the time to smoke while waiting for the bus, etc. The cigarettes scattered and stacked in a pile reflect the symmetry of time at the atomic level. The forward direction of time comes from looking at the macroscopic world, when we look at very small things, time loses its forward direction.

Waiting for the Fire to Start

Goldmark Cultural Center, Dallas, TX

Works on paper, Ceramics

While working in New Mexico, I came across a seed pod with a sinister appearance – the “Devil’s Claw.” It’s known in the southwest and considered to be a danger by ranchers as it can trip up cattle, leading to broken legs. Usually, it’s wooden whips find their way around an ankle, like a bracelet to be carried long distances.

The black tailed jackrabbit was everywhere in the desert, wandering. I considered how the rabbit and the devil’s claw might influence the outcomes in the desert landscape. A seed dropped here, and possibly it grows, possibly it doesn’t. The seed became a symbol of dormant potential. The jackrabbit is a conscious, wakeful traveler. The desert is a portal, with pockets of shade, plants and places to visit that call to the rabbit.

As I was working on developing these ideas, I was called home by my own father. We spent some days together. I left. He had a successful suicide.

The work changed. The rabbit became my father and sometimes myself, searching for joy. The seed became both a burden slowing the rabbit down, a duty to be carried, but also a nascent possibility. The desert became an actor in the rabbit’s life, a portal, a beckoning, a question of destination. The rabbit is born into the desert, and knows only the desert, and the desert is too expansive to ever be fully known. The landscape provides a sense of hope, paired with a daunting task of searching and finding that hope.