Sonia Landy Sheridan was born in Newark (OH, United States) on April 10, 1925. In 1947, she married James E. Sheridan. From 1929 to 1947, she lived in New York City (NY, United States), with the exception of the period between 1933 and 1937, when she lived in Cleveland (OH, United States). In 1951, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area (United States), where she lived for 10 years before moving to Evanston (IL, United States), north of Chicago. Between 1950 and 1986, Sheridan made a number of extended visits to England, France, Taiwan, Japan and Spain. Since 1993, she has lived in Hanover (NH, United States).
Vincent Bonin © 2006 FDL
From 1941 to 1945, she studied visual arts at Hunter College (New York, NY, United States), where she earned a bachelor degree in 1945. Between 1946 and 1947, she did graduate studies at Columbia University (New York, NY, United States). In 1948-1949, she also pursued graduate work at the University of Illinois (Chicago, Springfield, Urbana, Champaign, IL, United States). In 1952, she studied at San Jose College (San Jose, CA, United States). In 1957, during a visit to Taiwan with her husband, she attended National Taiwan Normal University (Taipei, Taiwan). In 1961, she completed a master's degree in Fine Arts (MFA) at the California College of Arts and Crafts, (Oakland, CA, United States).
Between 1960 and 1961, Sheridan was successively instructor at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland (CA, United States) and professor at the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, United States). She went on to become an assistant professor (1968-1975) and an associate professor (1968-1976) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, United States), where she taught mainly courses in drawing and printmaking. In 1976, she became full professor. In the early 1960s, she became interested in the use of communication technology in art and began to establish professional contacts with industry. From 1969 until the mid-1970s, Sheridan was artist in residence at 3M and experimented with various imaging systems, such as colour reprography. At her request, the Art Institute of Chicago initially rented and eventually acquired a 3M "C-in-C" (thermal process colour photocopier), to which were later added other photocopiers, computers and digital image processing tools. In 1970, Sheridan initiated a program entitled Generative Systems, which introduced students to various reprography techniques and, in due course, to the basics of infography and computer animation. As students became technically competent, they also learned about the advanced research being conducted by engineers in the reproduction technology sector (xerography, electronic imaging). In 1980, Sheridan left her position as professor and was awarded Professor Emerita status in June 1982.
Since the early 1970s, Sheridan's work has been featured in solo exhibitions in museums and art centres, primarily in the United States. She also participated in a number of group exhibitions, including Software at the Jewish Museum (New York, NY, United States) in 1970, and Électra at the Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris (Paris, France) in 1983. Her works can also be found in collections at the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario), Fundación Telefónica (Madrid, Spain), Museum of Science & Industry (Chicago, IL, United States), University of Iowa Museum (Iowa City, IA, United States), Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester, NY, United States), Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY, United States), Intercommunication Center (Tokyo, Japan), and 3M Corporation (Saint-Paul, MN, United States). In 2002, the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH, United States) acquired 684 works by Sheridan produced between 1949 and 2002. As a researcher and author, Sheridan has participated in many conferences and published articles in anthologies and periodicals such as Leonardo and Exposure. She has been closely associated with the journal Leonardo, serving as a member of the board and as an editorial adviser. During her career as an artist, Sheridan received grants from numerous organisations, including the Guggenheim Foundation (1973-1974) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1974-1975, 1976-1977, 1981-1982).
In 2009-2010 the exhibition "The Art of Sonia Sheridan" presented over 80 works by Sonia Sheridan at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover (New Hampshire).