My Bleeding Heart

Sheila Naughton

My Bleeding Heart, 2020.
Watercolour monoprint on watercolour paper.
Dimensions: 30x42cm.

Ph credit & courtesy of the artist.


The work started in the early stages with brightly coloured viruses as the subject matter. Sheila is still experimenting with the colours and the effects of mono-printing, but what is sure is that her palette has got darker, and she has started to use black, a colour that she rarely used before.

This new body of work is a direct response to this strange time. The artist is offering to the audience her personal experience creating a series of works more figurative. It means a lot to an abstract artist, with an education in design like her. She is strengthening her dialogue with her audience to express all the drama of this current time. [V.C.]

In the beginning, it was called the “Corona” virus and represented in the media by nice graphics. The virus was something that the majority of people would get and recover from after a few days of cold or flu-like symptoms. I imagined viruses invading cells and made images similar to what one might see if one looked through a microscope. Then, films of people in hospital began to appear on our screens and it was staggering to see how sick they were. I began to think about how bodily tissues are attacked by a virus and the damage it can do to our bodies: how the tissues of various organs such as the lungs, heart, liver and kidneys can be damaged to such an extent that they no longer function and the virus becomes life threatening. I wanted to keep the imagery abstract and suggest these things, so I used mono-printing. Organs are suggested rather than depicted. The cheerful colours of viruses gave way to blacker and darker colours where the disintegration and death of tissue might occur. These depictions are symbolic of the physical manifestation of illness. My Bleeding Heart is symbolic of the emotional pain and suffering caused by Covid 19. 

A native of Dublin, Sheila Naughton is an Honours graduate of NCAD and Ecole Cantonale des Beaux Arts et d’Arts Appliquees, Lausanne, Switzerland. Having worked in industry and education for over twenty five years, Sheila is now a full time artist. 

Sheila was selected for a residency at The Custom House Studios and Gallery in Westport in 2010. This experience was pivotal in developing her interest in contemporary abstract drawing and resulted in her first solo exhibition “Chiaroscuro” there in 2011. “Lightspill” a solo show at the invitation of The Higher Bridges Gallery, Enniskillen was held in 2016. 

“Striae”, a two person show with Hugh Cummins was held at the Olivier Cornet Gallery in Dublin in 2017 and “Elegy”, a two person show with Lorraine Cleary was held at at the Custom House Gallery in Westport in 2020.

Her work has been selected for the RHA  Annual Exhibitions in Dublin in 2017/18/19, “Cairde” Visual” at The Model, Sligo 2017/2019 and VUE in conjunction with The Olivier Cornet Gallery in Dublin 2017/18/19 and at Wexford National Opera House in 2019. “6” a group exhibition will take place at Kilfane Glebe House Studio in Thomastown in August 2020.

Sheila was the recipient of the AIR Krems residency in Krems, Austria in 2011. Other residencies were at Konstepidemin, Gothenburg, Sweden in 1998 and The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig in 2013 and 2014. Sheila has been selected for a residency at The Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island in 2020.

Sheila is an associated artist at The Olivier Cornet Gallery in Dublin and her work has recently been purchased by the OPW for the State Collection.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s