Artist’s statement


Sonia Shiel’s interdisciplinary practice combines key methodologies from art, law 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, performance or video.


I Am what you’ve come to see

Curated By Mary Cremin

Continues until November 1st 2019 At

VOID, Derry. 


‘In all works of fiction there belies an agreement that the reader/the viewer will allow for a suspension of disbelief. In this exhibition I Am What You've Come To See, the artist Sonia Shiel has transformed the three gallery spaces into a circular narrative, casting the audience as its central protagonist. The viewer is compelled to move through the galleries by a series of scripted audio-visual instructions, strategic objects and obtuse props that feign seemingly ungovernable chances - in a shape-shifting journey that is entirely staged.’


‘The use of text, stagings, props and painting are preoccupations in Shiel’s practice. These works are both performative and self-referential with the central narrative being an instructional conversation between the artwork and its maker. The paintings portray various landscape/natural elements and patterns, imprecise geometries, and translucent planes of colour and shape. Mimicking a digital landscape that encompasses both the archaeological and futuristic, the works have mobile components which, when activated, suggest how mysterious and magical qualities might influence the directions we take, even in the presence of intent. Shiel’s narratives shift us between the fantastical and the real and often refer to our impotency within world affairs while celebrating the notion of agency and our endeavors to affect change.’

Watch Video

Listen to Audio


UPCOMING: at Void Derry

Culture Night 20th September 2019

Director’s Tour with Mary Cremin


A reading by Sonia Shiel

on 1st November, 2019

Three Words - is a text made-up of charade-like encounters between the artwork and its fictional maker as they journey together through the landscapes-cum-chapters of the exhibition. The folie à deux thrashes between form and facade; sculpture and prop; dialogue and monologue to explore the veracity of creative intent; the indeterminacy of meaning; and among other things - the sound that circles make as soon as they are born.

Sonia Shiel is an Irish visual artist based in Dublin. She has had recent shows at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin; The Glucksman Gallery, Cork; Artbox, Dublin; The NCAD Gallery, Dublin; The Treeline Pavillion, Dublin; and The Crawford Gallery, Cork. Other selected exhibitions include Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin; Rua Red, Dublin; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Project Spaces, Dublin; the ISCP, New York; The Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin; The Cable Factory, Helsinki; Pallas Contemporary Projects, Dublin; The Model, Sligo; Atelier Frankfurter; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris; the RHA Galleries I and II; Ormston House, Limerick; and the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, among others. She has been the recipient of the Tony O'Malley Award from the Butler Gallery and the Hennessy Craig Award from the RHA. She has received a number of Bursary and Project Awards from The Arts Council; Culture Ireland; DLRCC; 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. She was Artist in Residence for Arts and Humanities, at the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD, Dublin from 2016-18. Other residencies and fellowships include the Art and Law 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.




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