The Great Escaped
2008

Using a wide cross-use of aspirational and monumental materials, Sonia Shiel’s work stages faux assessments and crude manifestations of natural and man-made phenomena. Each of the works for the Butler Gallery appears to ‘calculate’ wonder, applying notions of aptitude, enquiry or scrutiny to the ‘unquantifiable,’ from the ephemeral to the infinite. Conjuring up images of the sublime, Shiel’s luminous painting defies easy classification. While she is clearly a painter of skill and proficiency, Shiel is also a maker, deftly creating sculptural assemblage out of everyday disposable materials with a degree of studied low-tech prowess. Her video works are realized with an inventor’s sense of playfulness and the resultant installations have a guileless integrity to them. Shiel is equipped with an astute eye, a spirited intelligence and the instinct of a modern day Copernicus. Her sense of adventure pilots us to exceedingly interesting places from fantastical landscapes to nocturnal skies fuelling our desire ‘…to boldly go where no man has gone before.’ Shiel successfully brings together a diverse range of media creating a compelling body of work that is at its heart incandescent.
(Anna O'Sullivan, 2008).

Dimensions variable, painted card, oil on index cards, oil on canvas (180 x 130 cm), (130 x 90) & (20 x 30) x 6, lambswool, plastic bags, concrete, chalk, bench, dust, pipes, wood panels, torches poured paint and egg. Dimensions variable, video, castor wheels, tin and oil on canvas, card and wood.

Installation Shots:
The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny; Ard Bia, Berlin; Birr Famine Workhouse, the Galway Arts Centre, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin and the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin.