Sophia (Phi) Day
Sophia (Phi) Day is an artist from the Chicagoland area who currently studies and works in Boston. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA concentrating in oil painting. She also received a post-baccalaureate certificate in painting and 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.
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 revealing the banality behind grand constructions and in contrasting disparate visual languages. 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 of corner stores.
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. 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, propelled by capitalist systems, and the deeply spiritual, transcendental ideas behind religion and the abstract ideals promised by objects. In the space between these dichotomies I try to insert my own perspective and humor, drawing attention to this disparateness while positing alternatives. Humor is both a mode of making and a survival tool for me; in the face of great historical and systemic prejudice, the most effective form of critique and care is to laugh. I purposefully utilize elements of kitsch and “low-culture,” such as gummy candy, to challenge hierarchies both within religion and the art world. My art is a vehicle for my research, if that vehicle was a church mini-van spray painted with my visions of the apocalypse and candy.
Headshot by Naail Ali, BFA '23