• Art + Design

Sophia Ainslie

Associate Teaching Professor

Sophia Ainslie’s journey overseas from South Africa was instigated by a series of sponsored opportunities to attend artist workshops and residencies in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Having time to focus and experience a new landscape opened up new areas in her studio practice. The need for more of these circumstances brought her to Boston, via San Francisco, to finish her studies. Under the sponsorship of her patron, Henny Kirshon, and the Art History Department at Tufts, she pursued her MFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts. After graduating, she received the Anne and Graham Gund award to attend the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, in Maine.

Most recently, Ainslie is the recipient of the Inaugural Hendricks Art Fund for Tufts Graduates; the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship for Painting; and the Artist’s Resource Trust. Other awards include participation in residencies such as NIROX Foundation in South Africa, Triangle and ART/OMI in NY; Gasworks in London, Thapong International in Botswana, Southern Africa; and Thupelo international in Johannesburg and Cape Town South Africa.

Ainslie works between drawing and painting, between figuration and abstraction. Her work focuses on the connection between diagnostic imaging technologies and landscape, interior and exterior, and the microscopic and macroscopic. She melds observation with imagination resulting in a relationship of connections and disconnections between black mark making and flat color, stillness of shape and active mark, movement and space.

Ainslie is represented by Gallery Naga and maintains a studio in Somerville.

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  • MFA, School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University, Boston
  • Teacher’s Training, Johannesburg Art Foundation, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Recipient of the Inaugural Hendricks Art Fund for Tufts Graduates
  • Fellowship in Painting Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Finalist in Drawing: New England Art Award, New England Journal of Aesthetic Research
  • Residency: Nirox International, Gauteng, South Africa
  • Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Three–month international residency program (Ann and Graham Gund Fellowship)
  • Grant: Artist Resource Trust
  • Grant: The George Sugarman Foundation
  • First Prize in Drawing, Staffrider, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • First Prize in Drawing, New Visions, Johannesburg, South Africa

Professional Experience

  • “Last Touch 2” (solo exhibition), Transit Gallery Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • “Last Touch” (solo exhibition), Gallery Naga, Boston
  • “Paintings by Sophia Ainslie” (solo exhibition), Mayor’s Art Gallery, Boston
  • “Groundswell”, Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire, Paul Creative Arts Center
  • “Drawing Project: Paper Chassis”, Hallspace Boston
  • “Working Women: 36 Contemporary Women Artists”, Marian Graves Mugar Art Gallery, Colby-Sawyer College New London NH
  • “In Person—574” (solo exhibition), Remis Sculpture Court, Aidekman Art Center, Tufts Univeristy
  • “Interstitial” (solo exhibition), Carol Schlosberg Gallery, Montserrat College of Art, Beverly

Past Clients

  • My work is in extensive private and public collections in the States and abroad.

Courses Taught

  • 2D Fundamentals
  • Observational Drawing
  • Painting Basics
  • Conceptual Drawing
  • Drawing in Mixed Media
  • Figure Drawing
  • Color 1

Research Interests

  • Art