Sheila Girling in front of her painting Hanging Garden (1984)
Sheila Girling in front of her painting Hanging Garden (1984)

Sheila Girling (1924-2015) was a British abstract artist who worked across collage, painting and clay. She was an early adopter of acrylic mediums and brought radical new approaches to colour, texture and surface to British painting.

Sheila Girling in her studio, c.1990
Sheila Girling in her studio, c.1990

Girling trained at Birmingham School of Art (1941-45) and The Royal Academy Schools (1947-50). Her technical expertise was widely respected and developed during her years living in Bennington, Vermont, where she made close relationships with the Colour Field painters. In 1965 Girling returned to England to be a mother and wife, two experiences that profoundly shaped her practice and her subsequent return to painting in 1973.

Sheila Girling at Margie Hughto’s ceramic studio in Syracuse, 1978
Sheila Girling at Margie Hughto’s ceramic studio in Syracuse, 1978

In 1982 Girling established Triangle Art Network with her husband to connect abstract painters and sculptors across the world.

Sheila Girling at Triangle Workshop c 1980
Sheila Girling at Triangle Workshop c 1980

As her career progressed, she developed a collage painting technique that brought new painterly spaces and structures to her lifelong study of colour, field and form.

Sheila Girling at the installation of her retrospective at IVAM, 2006
Sheila Girling at the installation of her retrospective at IVAM, 2006

From the 1970s until 2015 Girling worked from her studio in Camden Town, London. In 2006 Sheila Girling Retrospective opened at Insitut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM, Valencia) and in 2019 her work was collected by The Yale Centre for British Art (New Haven).