SONIA CALDWELL

SCULPTURE & FINE ART

Biography  

I was born in Dublin in 1974. After completing school in 1992 I did a certificate in Art and Design in DIT/ Mountjoy Square. After finishing this course I carried on with my art practice, while also working with a commercial set company and traveling in Europe. These trips started me on a love of traveling and in 1996 I went to Zimbabwe to spend time with the family behind the Africa calls stone sculpture gallery in Dublin. During my time there I visited local artists and started to carve the local stone. On return home I participated in a stone sculpture symposium with Dick Joynt, which helped me establish my work in stone within Ireland.

My work in addiction in an arts setting at this time also had a large influence on my work. In 2004 I moved from Dublin to Cork. 

After a brief break from my work at this time for a few years I started exhibiting again in some group shows like Sculpture in Context and in local exhibition events, especially the  annual exhibition in Ballymaloe run by Riche Scott sculpture.

Over the year I have continued working in the Arts by facilitating in schools and at festivals. My work with the heritage in schools scheme has been especially influential in the sense that it has expanded my own education of Irish traditions, folklore and craft.

2019 was an important year in my practice as I was awarded a funded residency in Uillin, West Cork Art Centre. This residency allowed me to focus on smaller clay work and to start the journey of using traditional craft materials in my own work.

Over the last decade I have also established a small illustration business Kilcoe Studios. As well as learning essential business skills this project has also immersed me in our native plant life and the cultural history of plants, which has in turn influenced my fine art practice.

 

 

   

 

 

Artists Statement 

My sculptural work typically represents the human figure. I have expressed this in many ways in my primary material which is Irish limestone, all the time working within its limitations which dictates the finished work . I am not just interested in the physical figures, but what is represents – a symbol of who we all are, our behaviours and especially our spiritual needs.

In some sculptures the figure has been represented more realistically with detail and in others more shapely with no clear features. In recent figures they could almost be described as non-human, something which hints at my strong interest in the other world. 

In more recent work I have been exploring working with smaller figures in clay. These can be observed together in groups and this work allows me to work with the figure as part of a whole, each individuals part in the greater picture.

In clay the work is mostly silent  and careful and quiet. With stone there is a rhythm that is integral to the work. I deliberately choose to use hand tools and the process of working is as important as the outcome. This steady rhythmic work is very meditative and I believe this rhythmic part of living along with the seasons and cultural and religious rhythms of the week and year are crucial to a healthy mind and society.

I am also constantly fascinated by the materials that are available to us – specifically the ones in my locality – local minerals, rushes, dye colours  etc. I am fascinated by how previous generations used them for both practical, cultural and religious reasons and I am eager to explore how I can, as an artist, take these materials and techniques into use in this very different modern world. This is ongoing work that I am experimenting with to incorporate into my practice 

                                      Sonia Caldwell

`                        Kilcoe   Skibbereen  Co. Cork

                        [email protected]

                           028 38946 / 087 0667871

                     Date of Birth – 16 December 1974

 

EDUCATION

2002-2003             Crawford College of Art , Cork          Certificate in arts and empowerment.

1992 – 1993           College of Marketing and Design, Dublin 1 Certificate in Art and Design

1986 – 1992           Wesley College, Dublin 16      Leaving Certificate.

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2020                          Vue Art Fair, represented by Richie Scott.

2014 – 2020              Richie Scott Sculpture – annual sculpture exhibition at Ballymaloe, Co Cork.

2012 – 2020              West Cork Creates- annual showcase exhibition, West Cork Food festival.

2018                           Blue House gallery, Co Cork.

2010 –  2013               Millcove Sculpture Award, Co Cork.

2015 & 2018             Lavitt gallery members exhibition, Cork city.

2012 & 2013              West Cork Arts Centre annual members exhibition.

2010 & 2011 2020    Art gallery, North Mall, Cork.

2011 & 2013               Sculpture in Context, Botanic Gardens, Dublin.

2010                            Doswell Gallery – Virtu art, West Cork.

2003                         Frank Lewis gallery Killarney – Garden Sculpture exhibition.

2001 – 2004               Blue Leaf Gallery, Fairview, Dublin 3.

2002                            Oireachtas annual group exhibition.

2001                            Lysaght gallery, Howth , Co. Dublin.

1999                         Central Library Dublin – Art against Racism.

1998                            Watchhouse Gallery Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

1997 – 2000               Africa Calls stone sculpture gallery, Temple bar, Dublin.

 

COMMISSIONS and AWARDS

2020                    Current – private commission – 1.5 metre stone plinth and figure.

2019                       Uillin, West Cork Arts Centre Studios funded residency. 2 Months, October – December.

2019                       Creative Ireland Grant – researching and making ‘Straw Boy costumes’ for the ‘Wran day’ celebrations, including 2 community workshops.

2018                       Cork county Council award for ‘The Skibbereen City project’  where myself and another

                               artist worked with 600 pupils in 13 schools to make a paper city for the Arts Festival.

2012                        Cork County Council Artists Bursary – to do a series of drawings and sculpting work with a dancer.

1998                       St. Marys Church Saggart  Co. Dublin – Stone Figure in Opal stone .

                                8ft x 2.5ft. – to remember 150 years of the famine  and the building of the church.

    

SYMPOSIUMS & TRAVEL 

1998                       Cross cultural  and Stone sculpture  Symposium. Crann Studios, Enniscorthy

                               Hosted by Dick Joynt and Africa Calls Gallery, involving Zimbabwean and Irish Artists.

1996                       3 months working  with local artists in Zimbabwe learning stone sculpture, tied in with other

                               travel in the continent.

 

COLLECTIONS 

Richie Scott Sculpture                    ‘Searching’   2014

Killeen Group Headquarters.         ‘Void 1 & 2’  2016

Old Head Golf links Kinsale.         ‘Life Forms’ 2018

Holles Street maternity hospital     ‘You’ created at the sculpture symposium 1998

 

ART FACILITATION

This is a summary of the relevant work

2013 – Present       Heritage in school scheme – Delivering workshop in schools on heritage crafts.

2012 / 2013            Crafts council or Ireland   – Bloom interactive craft  event – conception to  completion. Straw súgáin village and large scale weaving loom.

2012 – 2013            Crafts council of Ireland   – Craft – ed schools programme

2010 – 2015            3 Separate School Projects- Funded by Cork County council.

1999 – 2002            Merchants Quay project, Soilse treatment programme and Millenium carving   project . Working in an artistic capacity in drug treatment in Dublin .

 

PRESS – 

 2019 – 1 page Article in Evening Echo relating to my sculptural work in Ballymaloe annual exhibition.

 

MEMBERSHIPS

Uillin West Cork Art Centre

Lavitt Gallery

Visual Artists Ireland

Cork Craft and Design

Design and Crafts Council of Ireland

Basketmaking Association of Ireland

OTHER WORK

I run a small business, Kilcoe Studios reproducing botanical studies which I started in 2012 . This allows me to keep working on my fine art work in my own time but it also absorbs me in a very deep way our native wildlife and this has greatly enriched and inspired me and the work I make.