Sheila Ghidini-Visual Artist

Incantation 2023

This is a wall drawing, comprised of a found reconfigured chair, acrylic paint, graphite and chalk wall drawing of cast shadows, thread and map pins. I'm interested in the interplay between what is real and what is illusionary in this piece, exploring cast shadows and negative spaces and the relationship between them.



Sheila Ghidini's work encompasses drawing, sculpture, installation and site-specific public art. Her work has been shown and collected in private and public collections including The Archenbach Collection of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Runneymede Farm Sculpture Park in Woodside, CA, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She attended Hartford Art School, University of Hartford and did graduate work at Cranbrook Academy of Art. She completed an M.F.A. in sculpture at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving the Sylvan and Pam Coleman Memorial Fellowship. She was an artist-in residence at The Headlands Center for the Arts and The American Academy in Rome summer program. She has received grants from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the Krasner-Pollack Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Marcelle Labaudt Memorial Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. Her public projects engage communities, architecture and the landscape. She has created public gathering spaces in San Jose, Campbell and Emeryville, CA. Sheila collaboratively designed two MUNI Transit shelter on 19th Ave., in San Francisco and one shelter in Lodi, CA. Sheila has taught art in schools throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco State University, University of California Berkeley, San Francisco Art Institute, and California College of the Arts.
What is not and that which is.

I perceive the world in part through filters of my art. And I have looked to art for ways to experience the world, to make sense of things, as a container for the contradictions and ambiguities of being alive.

Through my practice I’m interested in calling attention to ubiquitous, but often overlooked spaces between things and cast shadows. I suppose this interest developed from years of observational drawing, both my own and that of the students that I teach. Rendering is a skill which requires close examination of these relationships. Negative spaces and cast shadows might be considered by some to be empty or absences, but I perceive them as being full and filled with nuance. Coupled with my drawing interest, I’m compelled to make things.

The everyday materials of chairs and domestic furniture have served as my material, sourced from the street and the consumer waste stream along with my own inventions, used as found or in reconfigured situations, the elements reveal themselves to be both vulnerable and structural. Reconfigured forms are reassembled with focus on negative spaces and their cast shadows.

For years, I have worked with the mini architecture of the chair, both two and three-dimensionally. I find the chair form compelling, as a marker in space, as a symbol of presence and absence, and as a fundamental architectural form. The structure of a chair embodies in miniature the elements of architecture, including the potential to hold memory.

In this series of works, found chairs have been reconfigured with special attention paid to negative spaces and cast shadows. Graphite drawn illusionary shadows play against real shadows. What’s lost, missing or hidden is as much, if not more, a part of the work as what is tangibly present.