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Lust and Suicide

Updated: May 30, 2023

Works by Sophia del Rio

On view May 5-27, 2023


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Exhibition Statement

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 is a group of new oil paintings and ceramic sculpture (2023) 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. I hope to create work that allows viewers to safely observe and reflect in a safe space. When I am blessed enough to stand by my work and listen to viewers, and, sometimes, hear their own experiences with loved ones whom have made the decision to suicide. I find a moment for us to breathe and contemplate, and hopefully heal by opening up about our shared experience. A terrible thing happened. And, we are still here. I’m here with you.


Artist Bio

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. Anatomy and human experience inform her paintings and sculptures that explore how life changes after a loved one’s suicide. 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. Her many hours of rebuilding small, stucco churches in the West Texas desert influenced her aesthetic. Her use of the jackrabbit, devil’s claw seed and desert landscape are an unmistakable part of her work. Heavy blacklines often interrupt her compositions as a reference to the lead in church stain glass windows After many years living across the United States, Sophia returned to Texas in 2021. She was drawn back by the deep, artistic culture of Texas, the rich landscape, and the hardworking people.

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