UCD Artist in Residence - AVOCADO PROJECT

In association with UCD's Department of Arts and Humanities
and UCD's Parity Studios' Artist-in-Residence Program, 2016/2017.

Avocado is a UCD Parity Studios' Artist-in-Residence production project, by the 2016-17 Arts and Humanities' Artist-in-Residence, Sonia Shiel. It involves the development and materialisation of dove-tailing short-stories and will see its adaptation to short plays, readings, film, sculpture and installation with a series of events throughout 2016 and 2017, including a reading at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, as part of the Dublin Book Fair and a live performance of its prologue at Art Box, Dublin and Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin.

Sonia Shiel's work explores its protagonists' attempts to survive the odds of nature through the laws of their own making, conjuring surreal encounters between fictional characters and the illusory world around them. Many of her works engage with each other symbiotically or con/sequentially within mixed-media installations, creating narrative sequences that share the central materiality of paint throughout. Their acmes are often achieved with mechanical, gravitational or trompe-l'œil tricks. While her video-works synthesise object, image and sound with hand-painted animation, performance and model-making. Sculptures pose or whistle; paintings are cast as life-size characters, objects, terrains, and as whole traversable landscapes; and low-tech special-effects cause the work to breathe, fall or climb, as if 'inhabiting' the space. Other collusions lead the viewer further into the tale with painted-on footprints scaled to induce distance; altered weights speeding-up and slowing-down time; or texts that notate the sequence of events.
Sonia Shiel has had recent exhibitions at The Crawford Gallery, Cork; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, UCC, Cork; Rua Red, Dublin; ISCP, New York; The Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin; and The Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin, among others. In 2014, Sonia Shiel received the Arts Council's Project Award, with which she completed the Art & Law Fellowship Program, at Fordham Law School, while participating on the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York. In 2015, she was Artist-in-Residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and received Arts Council Visual Artists Bursary 2015. She has been the recipient of many competitive awards including the (HIAP) Helsinki International Artist-in-residence; Culture Ireland and Arts Council funding; the Centre Culturel Irlandais Award; the TBG+S Frankfurt Exchange Program; Banff Centre for the Arts, Leighton Residency Award, Canada; the Hennessy Craig Award (RHA); The Tony O'Malley Award; and TBG&S Membership Residency, among others. Her works are in public and private collections including the Arts Council of Ireland and the Office of Public Works. She is represented by the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin and has upcoming exhibitions in New York, Dublin and Beijing.

UCD Parity Studios is a university wide programme connecting the rich ecology of art practice in Ireland with research and education at University College Dublin. Through the Artist in Residence Programme, Elective modules and Public Engagement Programme, UCD Parity Studios Residencies support critical thinking and creative approaches to cross- disciplinary research, pedagogy and communication. It offers year long residencies to professional artists who are interested in developing collaborative projects in a university environment. Artist studios, based in converted laboratories in UCD School of Physics, provide a bright working hub and supportive environment for this unique community of artists at University College Dublin. Supported by UCD Colleges of Science, Social Sciences and Law, Arts and Humanities and College of Business the Residency Program creates a dynamic network of  professional artists, academics, researchers and students, working at the intersections of their disciplines.