Sonia Shiel combines key methodologies from art and theatre to imbue characteristics, autonomy and fictional narratives in the works she creates. Usurping the normal conditions of an artwork with a kind of self-conscious agency usually reserved for living things, her works are often free-standing; traversable; presented with their own volition, backstory or environment; and sometimes consolidated within installations that use audio-work, live performance or video. Transcending traditional dimensionality, her painted works reveal the shape-shifts of a sentient landscape, in which reflections abandon their hosts, horizons up-sticks from their axis, gestural marks pose wilfully and light plays tricks before disappearing.
Sonia Shiel is an Irish visual artist, born in Dublin. In 2020, she completed an artist-in-residence project at Facebook, Dublin, and became a member of the Rua Red Artist’s Studio Program, for which she has been supported by the Arts Council Visual Artist Bursary 2020. She has upcoming exhibitions at the Oonagh Young Gallery, and at the 6th Biennial of Painting, Zagreb, with Pallas Projects, in October 2021. Shiel’s paintings are often site-specific, presenting whole landscapes to climb or traverse. Sometimes consolidated within installations that use scripted audio-work, performance, or video - her paintings are framed, stuffed or folded, and used variously as themselves, facades and props - revealing their own shape-shifting purposes. Having exhibited extensively, she has had recent solo exhibitions at Void, Derry; NCAD Gallery, Dublin, and The Crawford Gallery, Cork. She has been the recipient of the Tony O'Malley Award from the Butler Gallery and the Hennessy Craig Award from the RHA, and has received a number of Bursary and Project Awards from The Arts Council; Culture Ireland; DLRCC; SDCC, and the DCC. Her work features in several international, public and private collections, including the DLR Municipal Collection; the Arts Council of Ireland, the City of Frankfurt, the Glucksman Gallery and the Office of Public Works. Other residency and fellowship awards include the NCAD Gallery Incubation Residency; the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD, Dublin from 2016-18; the Art and Law Fellowship Program, New York; the ISCP, New York; HIAP, Helsinki; The Kulturbunker, Frankfurt; Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin; and the Leighton Artists Studios Residency at The Banff Centre, Alberta. She holds a BA in Fine Art/Painting from the National College of Art and Design and an MA in Visual Art Practice from IADT.