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Sheridan KENNEDY

Sheridan Kennedy, Venificus, Spells for Changing Shape
Sheridan Kennedy, Venificus, Spells for Changing Shape
Sheridan Kennedy, Venificus, Spells for Flying


Visual Artist, Educator, Writer, Philosopher, Animist, Pioneering spirit.


Born in 1964 in Winton, western Queensland, Sheridan grew up on a sheep and cattle station 100kms from the town. She moved to Brisbane in 1982 to attend the Queensland College of Art. She currently lives and works in Sydney.


Her jewellery playfully brings together both the utilitarian and the overtly ornamental, with a primary preoccupation being the re-invention of traditional jewellery into new hybrid forms. Exploring the art of ‘dressing-up’, her work delights in the extravagant gestures of costume, while the influences of structural engineering are evident in her pre-occupation with kinetic devices and articulated mechanisms.


Much of the 1980s was spent as an art student and fledgling jewellery artist railing against the restrictive definitions of jewellers as craftspeople.


In 1985 she set up her first jewellery studio on the top floor of the Observatory in Roma St. But by 1986 that building had been demolished and she moved the studio to John Mills National. Her first solo show Venificus, at John Mills, opened with a performance in which she collaborated with Tim Gruchy and Marrianne Behm. During this time she was also a committee member of the fledgling Qld Artworkers Alliance.


In 1986 an Australia council mentorship enabled her to spend 12 months studying and working with Barbara Heath, after which time she travelled extensively in Europe.


These experiences led to her first fashion jewellery range, created in 1989, the elaborate, renaissance inspired “Full Regalia and Getup”. By the end of the 80s her practice had become much more fashion focused, and by the early 1990s her work also crossed over from the craft arena into visual arts, with participation in shows at IMA, MCA in Sydney, and EAF in Adelaide.


She moved to Sydney in 1992, continuing to exhibit and maintain a diverse practice ranging across fashion jewellery, lighting design and costume for film & video. It also included public art with her large interactive mechanical sculpture The Optogemel installed in the Brisbane Powerhouse foyer in 2001.


She has exhibited in the major cities and many regional galleries around Australia, while also participating in group shows in the UK, Tokyo, Shanghai and New York. Her artworks are in major collections such as the Powerhouse Museum, The National Gallery of Australia, and the Queensland Art Gallery.


In 2010 She completed a Phd at Sydney College of the Arts, which focused on exploring the collusion between jewellery and wearer – through diverse cultures and across millennia – which has produced those enduring human practices of magic and glamouring.


This is a theme threading through her work since that first show at John Mills National. The central hypothesis of her doctoral thesis is that when we challenge the Western understanding of consciousness as something belonging to individuals, we re-imagine and therefore re-value the social role of the object, and see our own material selves through fresh eyes.


She’s currently working on a non-academic book about the topic of “bodyfulness” which is a direct outcome of the phd research.

Art Practice Keywords:

Visual Artist


Artist Role Keywords:

Design, Jewellery, functional objects, installation, performance art, fashion

Collaboration/ Collaborator names Keywords:

Lehan Ramsay, The Observatory Collective, Marrianne Behm, Barbara Heath, Tim Gruchy, AXIS Art Projects, John Mills National, John Mills Himself Artist Studios, Chasm.



Various Private Collections


born Winton, 2 April 1964, Queensland. (143˚02E, 22˚23S)


2010 PhD at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.

2000 Alchemy Masterclass, Australian Network for Art & Technology

1987 Bachelor of Arts, Queensland College of Art


Solo Exhibitions

2012 O Tremblant, Studio 2017, Sydney

2009 The Evolution of Specious in 3 days, PhD examination exhibit, Sydney College of Arts.

2005-6 The Specious Voyages, Jam Factory Craft & Design Centre, Adelaide; Museum of Brisbane

2001 Specious- a collection of curios, Object Australian Centre for Craft & Design, Sydney

2000 Australian Fashion Week Festival events: Taste @ GPO, Atlantis rising @ CircuitCircus

1999 qualia, Deseran Gallery, Sydney

1996 New Work, Schmuck Gallery, Sydney; Grand Orbit, Brisbane

1995 Syzygy, Linden gallery, Melbourne

1991 Minor Revelations, Café Europe, Brisbane

1987 New Icons, Roz MacAllan Gallery, Brisbane

1987 Veneficus: Jewellery and Ritual, John Mills National, Brisbane.


Group Exhibitions

2014-16 A Fine Possession: Jewellery & Identity, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

2013-14 Silver, Museum of Brisbane.

2012-15 Transplantation: narrative contemporary jewellery, touring UK and Australia: Toowoomba regional Gallery: Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga: Webb Gallery QCA/Griffith University: Macquarie University Art Gallery; Craft ACT; Craft Victoria; Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery; Cowra Regional Gallery; Bunbury Regional Gallery.

2011-14 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: 100 Brooches for 100 famous Australian Women, Artisan Gallery, Brisbane, and touring nationally.

2011 Precious, Sydney College of Arts gallery. Sydney

2010 By Example, Museum of Arts & Crafts, Itami. Japan.

2009 Untouchable, SCA staff exhibition for Sydney Design Festival, SCA galleries, Sydney

2009 Cornucopia, Masterworks Gallery, Auckland, NZ

2008 Once Upon a Time, Contemporary Jewellery from Australia and China, SCA galleries, Sydney and CAFFA gallery, Beijing.

2006-8 Freestyle: New Australian Design for Living, Melbourne Museum; Object Gallery, Sydney; QUT Art Museum, Brisbane; Art Gallery of South Australia; Design Museum, London.

2008 Madonna del Rosario, Artisan Gallery, Brisbane.

2007 Spinning Straw, Masterworks Gallery, Auckland, NZ

2006-7 Baubles, Bangles and Beads, Rockhampton Regional gallery, Toowoomba Regional Gallery, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Craft ACT, RMIT Gallery, Object Gallery, Albury City Regional Gallery, Bathurst Regional Gallery touring East coast galleries

2006 Madonna Del Rosario Award Exhibition, Wollongong City gallery

2006 Colonial to Contemporary: Qld College of Art 125 years, Dell Gallery, Brisbane.

2006 Botanica, Crafts Queensland, Brisbane

2005 Here And There jewellery exchange: Jam Factory Gallery Adelaide, Object Gallery Sydney, Monash University Faculty Gallery Melbourne, Toowoomba Regional Gallery.

2004 Sydney Style, the Opera House Exhibition Hall, for the Sydney Festival and Object.

2003 Here And There jewellery exchange exhibition: UCE Gallery Birmingham; The Hub, Sleaford; The Winchester Gallery, Winchester School of Art; The Timber Wharf, Manchester- UK.

2002 Future Factor, Craft Queensland, and touring Australia until 2003

2002 Absolut Expressions, Customs House Sydney, also Taipei and Oslo.

2002 Less is More, Less is a Bore, Brisbane City Gallery

2002 Flights of Imagination, Qantas Centre, Longreach, Qld

2001 Fusion – ring show of Object studio tenants

2001 Tactile Art Award, Object Gallery, Sydney

2001 Red Objective, Object Studios, a SMH Design week event.

2001 Australian Fashion Week Opening event with Justine Taylor & Autore South Sea Pearls

2001 26th Alice Craft Acquisition, Alice Springs

2001 Heart, Gallery One Five Six, Sydney

2000 Tomfoolery, Object studios Christmas show

2000 Cult Neon @ Craft Queensland

2000 Lustre, New Australian Jewellery from the collection, Queensland Art Gallery

2000 Headland to Heartland, Blackall Cultural Centre, Blackall, Qld.

1999 Toxic, The Performance Space Gallery, Sydney

1998 Romanticism and Reason- Australian Jewellery 1957-1997

1998 Art on the Move, touring Regional Galleries of Western Australia

1998 Undercurrents Itami City Craft Centre, Itami & Ueno No Mori Museum, Tokyo, Japan

1996 Contemporary Wearables 97, Toowoomba Regional Gallery and touring galleries in eastern Australia

1997 Contemporary Vessels and Jewels – Australian Fine Metalwork, Shanghai Museum, China; Queensland Art Gallery and Regional galleries in Queensland.

1997 Objects of Ideas, Toowoomba Regional Gallery, Warwick, Stanthorpe, Noosa and other Regional Galleries in Queensland and NSW.

1995 Prosperity, Tatjana Gallery, Sydney

1995 Sacred Archetypes, Archetype Gallery, New York

1994 Upfront-Jewellery for the Torso, The Door Exhibition Space, Fremantle, WA

1994 Re-Enchantment for the Home, Archetype Gallery, New York.

1992-1993 …but never by chance…,: Experimental Art Foundation Adelaide, Institute of Modern Art Brisbane, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Ian Potter Gallery Melbourne, School of Art Gallery Canberra

1992 Elvis Sightings, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney.

1991-1992 Australian Jewellery Biennial. Touring: Jam Factory Adelaide, Powerhouse Museum Sydney, Meatmarket Gallery Melbourne, Queen Victoria Museum Launceston, School of Art Gallery Canberra.

1991 Ritual-Magic-Ceremony. Fashion Design Corporation Shop, Melbourne

1990 Space 1990, Queensland College of Art Gallery, Brisbane

1990 La Boutique Fantastique at David Jones for Adelaide Festival of the Arts

1989 Regalia at Remo General Store, Sydney

1989 Queensland Jewellery, Queensland House, London.

1989 Our language is Vision, Crafts Council of Queensland, Brisbane

1988 Excellence in design, Queensland College of Art Gallery, Brisbane

1988 Axis-File, Various Sites- Brisbane, New York, London.

1988 The Contemporary Australian Jewellery Show, Handmark Gallery, Hobart.

1987 The Ubiquitous Knife, Makers Mark Gallery, Melbourne.

1986 Queensland Gift Exhibition, Q.P.G., Brisbane.


Public Design Commissions

2002 Autore South Sea Pearl jewellery for Akira, Mercedes Australian Fashion Week

2001 Autore South Sea Pearl Jewellery for Michelle Jank “Deceiving Ladies” collection & Justine Taylor “Alchemy”, Mercedes Australian Fashion Week

2000 Optogemel interactive sculpture, Brisbane Powerhouse Live Arts Complex

1998 Jewellery for Akira Isogawa’s Botanica collection, Australian Fashion Week

1994 Titian to Goya, retail jewellery for Australian National Gallery Shop

1993 Women’s Hockey Australia- trophy for the National Hockey League

1991 Glamourpussy – jewellery for summer collection

1990 Gilgamesh, Queensland Theatre Company, crowns and jewellery

1990 Suleyman, retail jewellery for National Gallery of Victoria Shop

1990 Civilisation, retail jewellery for Australian National Gallery Shop


Publications & Reviews & Citations

2010 Martin-Chew, Louise, “Reinventing Our Future,” Design Quarterly, Vol 36, pg 52.

2008 Mansell, Amanda, Adorn: New Jewellery, London: Laurence King Publishers

2006 Ostling, Susan: ‘Sheridan Kennedy, The Specious Voyages’. Eyeline Magazine, Vol.1 (60)

2006 March Diary, Qantas Magazine,

2005 Gino Ho & Eileen McCarthy, Critics Choice, State of The Arts, Oct-Dec, pg 46

2005 Ostling, Susan; ‘A Match Made in Heaven’, Interact, Craft Australia publication.

2004 James, Crystal; ‘Dazzling Pretenders’, Poster issue 4, pg 12.

2002 Reich, Isabella; All That Glitters. Object magazine no 40.

2002 Diamond Designs, Qantas Magazine, # 113 November 02, pg 123

2002 Six of the Best, Autore Magazine issue 1, pg82

2002 Site Upfront, Monument magazine, no 46, February/March pg 16

2001 Precious Toys, Australian Style magazine, no 58, pg 32 December/January 2001-2002

2001 fashion editorial, Harpers Bazaar, June/July; jewellery supplement

2000 Quickenden, Kenneth, Virtual Gallery of Contemporary Jewellery, Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, England.

2000 Black & White Magazine, Issue 41

1999 Oyster Magazine, Dec 99, Issue 27.

1999 ‘A Vocation Discovered’, Smarts magazine, Issue 18

1995 Oyster Magazine, spring 95 issue

1992 Adams.J., ‘Something Borrowed Nothing Blue…’, Artlink, vol 12/ no 2

1992 Jackson,B., Essences and Difference. Eyeline Magazine, no.20

1992 Wark.M., Elvis Sightings. Reviews, Eyeline Magazine, no. 20

1989 Burch.A., ‘New Icons’, Jewellery Australia Now

1988 Szulakowska.U., ‘Jewellery-Sculpture as Kinetic Performance’, Eyeline Magazine, no.5

1987 Ramsay.L., ‘New Icons’, Eyeline Magazine, no.3


Published Writing

2007 ‘Mapping the Field of Experience’, On Location, making stories: siting, citing, sighting, Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia-NSW conference papers 2006.

2003 The Journey, Here And There jewellery exchange exhibition catalogue

2003 Second National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now. Object magazine issue 43

1994 catalogue essay for “Bridie Lander: Instruments, Increments & Implements.”

1992 The Hybrid Jewel, Craftwest National Magazine, August 92

1989 Fashion and Surrealism, Lemel, September Issue.


Collaboration & Multimedia

2002 Out of Body installation video projection with Tim Gruchy for Future Factor

2001 Art Harbour, event performance co-ordination, Future University, Hakodate, Japan

1999 qualia event styling and design with Richard Hassing & Jaki Kükl

1989 Timewarp: costume/performance collaboration with Multipal Maniaxs and Tim Gruchy

1987 Veneficus: Jewellery and Ritual opening performance with Tim Gruchy & Marrianne Behm, John Mills National, Brisbane.


Professional Activities

1992-2014 Studio practice based in Sydney

2005-2011 Casual lecturer, Jewellery & Object Design faculty. Sydney College of Art

2010-2011 Editor, Filings, JMGA newsletter

2009 Organic-Mechanic presented at ‘Super Nature: pioneering design inspired by nature symposium, Qld University of Technology, Brisbane

2009 Deviant Objects presented at Awkward Objects symposium, Sydney College of Art in association with Sydney Design Festival

2008 Deviant Objects: a short history of the fetish, Lecture at Qld College of Art

2006 Natural & Unnatural Histories, Art & Arcadia lecture Series, at Qld College of Art

2006 mapping the field of expereince Wednesday lecture series, RMIT School of Art

2006 public lecture, QCA Auditorium, in conjunction with Museum of Brisbane exhibition.

2006 Tutor, Kinetic components workshop. QCA jewellery & Object design, Brisbane

2006 speaker “mapping the field of experience” JMGA Australia conference

2002 Object/Sydney College of Art Seminar: speaker on ‘the Body & Technology’

2001 Art Harbour, summer school tutor, Future University, Hakodate, Japan

1999 Tutor, Arts West 31st School of Creative Arts, Barcaldine, Qld

1992 Lecture at Universitat de Barcelona: Hybrid Vigour– the influence of location on our identity, culture & traditions

1992 Speaker, JMGA conference, Perth; on the hybrid future jewel.

1992 Tutor, JMGA conference workshops; on production jewellery

1989-1991 Part time Tutor, Queensland College of Art

1988 Committee Member, Queensland Artworkers Alliance.

1987 Committee Member, Jewellers & Metalsmiths Group Conference

1985.1992 studio practice based in Brisbane


Grants Residencies & Awards

2006 Sydney University Postgraduate Award to undertake PhD studies

2004 New Work grant to develop the Specious Project, VACB, Australia Council

2003 New York Greene St Studio residency, VACB, Australia Council

2003 Residency-University of Central England, Here And There project.

2000 Object Studios, jewellery residency

1994 Project Grant for Princess Produce, w/Tom Burless; VACB, Australia Council

1991 Promotions & Marketing grant, Qld Arts Office

1991 Barcelona Studio residency, VACB, Australia Council

1986 Crafts trainee grant with Barbara Heath; Crafts Board, Australia Council



Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

National Gallery of Australia

Art Gallery of Western Australia

Queensland Art Gallery

Art Gallery of South Australia