Sheila Moylan to Hold First Solo Exhibition at SET Ealing

Irish artist is a studio holder at the venue

A detail from a Sheila Moylan painting


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November 9, 2023

The first ever solo exhibition by Irish artist Sheila Moylan is being held at SET Ealing later this month.

The painter, harpist and singer will present ‘Fire in the Head’ in the gallery next to where her studio is created.

It is a major milestone for her having taken the decision to become a full time artist just three years ago. After a long career of supporting excluded young people, including running an alternative to GCSE where art was the main subject - she became a self employed musician and art tutor in 2015. During the pandemic she was furloughed and began making art full time in her living room.

SET Ealing says, “Moylan’s art seamlessly weaves in and reinterprets the spiral, lozenge and circle designs inherent in Irish megalithic art, which dates back to 3,000 BCE, drawing upon its myths and poetry. Her figures, crafted from wire, charcoal, pencil, and ink, transport us to a long lost world, populated with shape-shifters, gods, goddesses, and time travellers.

“Moylan's work represents a collaboration with the megalithic artists of 5,000 years ago, following the fine thread of myth that links us to their legacy.”

The exhibition's title is drawn from the line "I am the God who puts fire in the head," originates from the oldest poem in the Irish language. The faded marks on ancient stones are brought to life through graphic art informed by Moylan's research into the ancient art's design principles.

Beyond her visual art, Sheila is a composer and performer of her own music. For this exhibition, she’ll collaborate with musicians who have drawn inspiration from the exhibition's themes to create a series of one-off live musical compositions.

She says "For me, this represents the culmination of years of unwavering dedication and scholarly pursuit. The ancient monuments of my native Ireland, exemplified by sites like Newgrange, have consistently inspired subsequent generations to reinterpret and superimpose their own ideas and beliefs upon them, given that the culture that erected them lacked a written language. This absence grants artists the unique opportunity to fill the voids left by archaeology, reaching into the past and grasping the thread of myth to breathe life into the stones, illuminating our innate need to connect with history."

There is a private view on Thursday 23 November from 6-9pm from which time the exhibition is open by appointment until 3 December. Email to make an appointment.

On Saturday 25 November from 4-6pm there will be performances featuring experimental musicians Flooded Access and Georgina Brett.

SET is an artist-led charitable organisation and studio provider operating across eight London locations. It transforms vacant buildings into affordable workspace and says that out of 13,500 artists that hold work space in London, 1,000 have studios at SET.

The Ealing location is at 105-113 St James House, Broadway, (W13 9BE).

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