Sophia Heymans: Lay of the Land

Monday, December 4, 2017 - February 25, 2018
Alice R. Rogers Gallery & Target Gallery, SJU

painting by sophia heymans

Sophia Heymans’ exhibition Lay of the Land explores our recent psychological detachment to the surrounding landscape and material world. Her large-scale landscape paintings use a floating aerial perspective along with textural plant materials to create scenes that are at the same time dreamlike and grounded in reality. To learn more, visit

Artist Statement:

For the last eight years, I have been painting almost exclusively large-scale landscapes. I collect plant materials from around wherever I’m living at the time, embedding them into the surfaces of my paintings. This process of harvesting has helped me get to know new places and feel connected to the landscapes that are the subject of my work.

Recently, I've stopped sketching from life. My compositions are entirely invented. The plants and land-forms in my paintings are often drawn from Google images and Google Earth. My traditional concept of “landscape” is changing as I spend more time online. The Internet has become a kind of landscape in its own right. I use an aerial perspective in my paintings to represent our generation’s ability to hover above reality, to exist in a non-physical landscape. Our bodies are still rooted in the material world but our minds explore an arguably infinite plane. In contrast to this, I walk down by the Mississippi river and collect moss, burrs, seeds and whatever else I can find. These plant materials ground the otherwise aloof and imaginary landscapes, bringing physicality and a relationship to place that seems to be quickly fading from this 21st century existence.