What I Tell You In The Dark
The Crypt, St John's Church, Waterloo
Sheila Wallis' art understands the vulnerability of every human being, our internal and external conflicts. Perhaps her compassion and honesty as an artist are not unconnected with the fact that she was born at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
She works within the tradition of orthodox, realist painting. She began with self-portraiture out of economic necessity. In 2009 she won the coveted Threadneedle Prize with a nude self-portrait. Gradually her work acquired a new freedom: a delicate but powerful ability to convey how vulnerable we are without being exploitative or cruel. We have all experienced family care and concern, love and loss, the things we can choose - and those we cannot escape. More recently she has been inspired by early post-mortem daguerreotypes which are linked inescapably with our own transient temporal existence.
After winning the Threadneedle Prize, Sheila gave up her job working for the NHS in order to concentrate on painting, deciding that...
“...it’s time to take my art more seriously.” Of her latest work she says "The seeming alchemy of the Victorian daguerreotype, captured by the earliest cameras and fixed onto prepared plates. is as unique as any watercolour. My project is to discover if these once private heirlooms might be made to speak of the more universal human themes of longing and limitation'.
You will find an interesting description of daguerre history and process in