The Vacant Space
1184 Argyle St, Glasgow
Sheila Boyle is something of a rarity within the contemporary production of art with a practice straddling across mediums and dimensions but retaining a clear thematic interest and consistent execution. Her work centres around the urban sprawl; it’s fragmentation and abstraction in our memory of it and the feelings it can evoke in all of us no matter where we might be from.
Her process is one of automated production, removing her works from any literal reading of a known place. This creates something absorbing and intense in her practice and I can see reason why people may end up projecting their own known environments of home onto her works. She has found the common language of our cities; the bright, almost garish colours, the loud noise and hustle and bustle that sit beside the battle between contrasting elements all striving to exist in one place. Whatever truth lies within them is buried in a blurred memory of space and presence leaving them open for the viewer to find their own known urban framework inside them.
Definably a printmaker with the majority of works shown in her Delineate exhibition starting life as monoprints before being worked into with acrylic. They are expressive but also considered, colourful without screaming at you and the longer you look at them the more interesting they seem to become. She also had a beautiful steel sculpture on display, it’s harsh welded joins take the lines from her printed works and move them into a different more prominent form reminiscent of those sculptural maps you may find in city centres around the world. Yet it is Sheila’s city and we can only follow and try and find our own way through it.
My favourite body of her work is her silkscreen prints. These are a clear move away from her other pieces yet retain the same architectural themes somehow acting as a softer nod to the abstract urban environment that defines her practice. They take the line out of the composition, instead relying on a layering of colour and a clever blend of opacity to show a depth of texture often lost in screen printing.
Delineate is on until the 20th of October and is located at the Vacant Space gallery on Argyll Street in the west end of Glasgow. Sheila was a joy to meet and gave me lots of interesting conversation about her practice and her experience as a working artist in Glasgow, if you are unable to catch her at this show then keep an eye out for her next one no doubt coming soon.