special exhibition


back to gallery program

6th December 2015 to 17th January 2016

"Five Sisters and a Family Tree"

Animal sculptures by Susan O'Byrne


Susan O’Byrne’s animal sculptures appear to originate from the Anglo Saxon literary tradition of fables and novels, in which animals embody habitus and traits of man, without giving up their animalistic characteristics. Although recognisable as a species, nevertheless with an almost soulful expression, the creatures of the Scottish-based artist are anything but zoological studies – their poetry and vibrancy reach further: While they are without doubt portrayals, they are at the same time alienated through the unique way they have been crafted. They embody Susan’s childhood passion for animal figurines; yet her drawing and painting talents are also realised. It was when she turned to ceramics that she was able to bring together these disciplines in an innovative way. From then on she ‘drew’ with wire, outlining three dimensional forms, which she then decorated with ceramic tiles, a balancing act between haunting emotionalism of her menagerie and the materiality of patchwork ‘skin’– patterned with unrelated designs – of big round-eyed deer, sheep and birds.

With this second presentation of this exceptional Scottish-based artist, in the Marianne Heller Gallery in Heidelberg, the ‘evolution’ of Susan’s creation is striking: Even more expertly and audaciously than before, she forms the exotic-looking creatures in her own technique, and even more intimately, motif, material and patterns are bound together, paradoxically to a greater life-proximity, which, in fact, could not be more remote.

Five sisters & a family tree is a new body of ceramics from Susan O´Byrne. It offers a very personal journey into a private world. "I´m taking inspiration from my own family history, specifially my mother´s side of the family who migrated from Germany to Ireland in the mid 1800s. The five sisters are my grandmother and her four sisters. They will each be represented by a ceramic animal, and are the largest pieces in the exhibition." In the family tree Susan represents the other characters of her relatives by ceramic animal heads.


















Sun, 6th December, 2015 11:30 – 18
Susan O'Byrne will be present

Sunday, 17th January, 2016 11:00 - 18

opening hours:

Tue – Fri 11 – 13 & 14.30 – 18
Sat 11 – 18
Sun, 6th December 11 – 18

exhibition site:

Galerie Heller
Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 2
Im Stadtgarten
D-69117 Heidelberg

Tel: 06221 - 61 90 90


back to top
© 2014 by www.galerie-heller.de