The Molesworth Gallery
  Sheila Pomeroy

Man ~ oil on panel ~ 28 x 34 inches (private collection)



Clamant ~ oil on panel ~ 46 x 28 inches (private collection)



Feral ~ oil on panel ~ 25 x 34 inches (private collection)



Bog boy ~ oil on panel ~ 28 x 80 inches (private collection)



Woman's room ~ oil on panel ~ 40 x 40 inches (corporate collection)


Sheila Pomeroy's beautifully-crafted paintings combine multiple layers of oil paint and varnish, giving her work a tonal depth and opulent texture. Her use of gold leaf and the studied intensity of her figures evokes the masters of the early renaissance, while the interplay between light and shadow, between the ethereal and the temporal draws on the genius of Carravaggio and Goya. The dramatic lighting she so skillfully conjures creates a sense of foreboding, of forces beyond the edges of the painting that are gathering against its subject. Motivated by personal experience, Sheila explores universal themes of motherhood, love and loss, pain and bereavement, never hesitating to lay bare raw emotion.


Artist's Statement

I find writing about my work to be a stressful task, and painting to be only slightly less so. A writer is never required to paint a statement. I’ve got few theories or philosophies about art, and certainly none of my own, so perhaps it will be enough if I start by explaining the method I use to find what is for me a satisfactory, authentic image.

I have learned to wait, not to chase off the ragged fragment of a dream, or a thought, or a feeling. I don’t try to dictate, or analyse. I sift, sift, and sift through my horde of photos, poems, songs, titles, scraps, words, and cuttings. Then I do it again. Gradually, small associations and links are made. From this repetitious, tedious but mesmerising process, an image is, just occasionally, distilled. It has but rarely anything at all to do with the original spark – I like that.  But of course, as a writer may only ever have one or two stories, so too does an artist.

I am interested in Freud and Jung’s work on the collective unconscious and dreams.  A jumbled mix of the things that fascinate me I use as props in my work. Myths, rituals, abandoned places, haunted places, sacred spaces, cillins, Chinese opera, graveyards, Noh plays, ancient Egypt, children, birds, cenotes, tsantsa, bog bodies, Pre-Columbian civilizations, sacrificial rituals, deep and stagnant water, trapped insects in amber, fossils, Tar pits, things that lurk beneath the surface, jujus, totems, famine graves, deformities, conjoined twins. I could go on. Often, and perhaps thankfully, in my flight from story, these props are lost.

The actual painting is a progression from the sifting. I build thin layers of paint, and when a layer is dried, I scrape and sand the surface, and then paint another layer. Sometimes the image is destroyed. There may be twenty layers. It is a dispiriting and often boring journey, but there is a letting-go, a meditating within this process. I begin to understand this contains the essence of why I need to paint.
It is always a surprise to me when the painting emerges – then it becomes a matter of craft.

The work in this exhibition is slightly different from previous work, as it deals mostly with recent events. Perhaps I am running out of memories.

Clearly, some of the paintings in this exhibition are a lament, and a farewell ( Bective Fragment’). Clearly, some of the paintings are a lament, a farewell, and a merciless inventory (‘Leaving Hat’, ‘Totem’). And one or two are purely a merciless inventory.

Some of the paintings are angry, and veering perilously close to the polemic – like narrative, something I am attracted to and repelled by, in equal measure. About the denigration of the female I am, and will remain, outraged and unapologetic (‘Song of The Fury’, ‘Caul’). But I can only deal with these larger issues by going from the general to the particular, by finding echoes in my own experience, by finding symbols.

I want to whisper, not shout - but I do want to be heard.

Sheila Pomeroy, March 2013


Education: NCAD, Fine Art, graduated 1983
Solo exhibitions
2013 The Molesworth Gallery
2006 The Molesworth Gallery
2004 The Molesworth Gallery
2002 The Molesworth Gallery
Group exhibitions
RHA Annual Exhibitions
RUA Annual Exhibition

2008 The F-Word, Iontas Arts Centre, Co Monaghan

2007 The F-Word, The Molesworth Gallery
Boyle Arts Festival
Treasury Holdings, Dermot Desmond, Campbell Bewley Group
2000 RHA Portrait Prize
1996 KPMG Award, Oireachtas,
1987 1st prize Arnotts National Portrait Competition
Selected reviews & publications
A buyer's guide to Irish art, 2003, edited by Meg Walker, Ashville Media Group

Leaving hat

Leaving hat ~ oil on board ~ 22 x 28 cm



Winding sheet ~ oil on panel ~ 39 x 26 inches (private collection)



Two shadows ~ pencil ~ 24 x 14 inches (private collection)


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