October 03, 2004

George Shaw, Coventry painter

Writing about web page http://blog.urbanomic.com/undercurrent/archives/000440.html

The painter George Shaw, from Tile Hill near the University, was featured on Channel 4's The Art Show a couple of weeks ago. I found this fascinating, and was pleased to read an excellent review of Shaw's work by Undercurrent , also a Warwick graduate (aka Coventry survivor).

Unlike Undercurrent, i've never actually seen any of Shaw's work 'for real', but got enough from the documentary to know that it is very interesting. For a start, it really does express something about childhood in this city (and cities like it). As Undercurrent writes…

The paintings exclude people, both in their content and in the viewer's engagement. They are places where the viewer is forgotten. You can't get into them unless you agree to disappear from the world.

...giving an ever present sense of awkwardness and uncertainty, which I still feel today when I return to such places.

But Shaw isn't a simple one-dimensional painter. There's a lot more to be investigated. For example, i'm thinking at the moment about the relationship between painting and other arts. Undercurrent shows the (difficult) relation between writing and painting…

...perhaps the intensity of his paintings stems from their being a negative artefact of his literary endeavour, the stubbornly inarticulable residue which it is impossible to force into prose.

...and between painting and photography, which is a crucial thing to understand in twentieth century art…

...the very nakedness of the photographic image brought into question…

Most interesting is the concept of "reconfusion" that Undercurrent writes of.

I'm going to think more about this. In the meantime, read Undercurrent's article on Shaw for more insights.

- 21 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Tony

    His work is stunning in its simplicity and a refreshing change from the junk art we are so often bombarded with. I would love to see some of his original work ,can anyone advise me where I might find some? Evidently he paints with humberol, as a painter myself (in oils) I would imagine his chosen medium to be a little transparent and difficult to use, even so his results leave nothing to be desired.
    Does anyone have a contact No or Address for this artist?


    24 Oct 2004, 18:02

  2. Tony

    Has no one else in the country anything to say about George Shaw ?

    30 Oct 2004, 19:01

  3. Jim

    George Shaw has produced the most beautiful work I've ever seen. I'm in the process of getting hold of one of his books and I can't wait. Please tell me there's some way to get in touch with the man! I would love to have a chat with him.

    04 Nov 2004, 19:56

  4. tim lowly

    Yes, beautiful work. Does anyone know if he has a website? I would like to put a link to it in my links section if he does.


    27 Dec 2004, 18:26

  5. Staoshi

    I watched the C4 programme about him – hadn't heard of him before. I'd love to know from anyone which books are available and whether there's a website where more of his work can be viewed. It is astounding and I love the fact that he has to paint in his balaclava to avoid seeing his reflection in the dark enamel.
    I know his work is sometimes about places from his childhood/his childhood itself. Does anyone else agree that it also seems to be about their own?

    01 Mar 2005, 17:33

  6. Robert O'Toole

    For the first six years I lived in part of Coventry very much like Tile Hill, and I have George Shaw like memories. But then we moved to somewhere right on the edge of the city, next to the green belt. That changed everything. At that point i became an explorer, a traveller. So i only partly share George's memories.

    16 Mar 2005, 17:18

  7. Darren

    I've been lucky enough to visit three of George Shaw's exhibitions over the years. Each one was a moving experience for me, haunting in fact. I was lucky/un-lucky enough to spend time studying in Cov and nearly all his paintings bring back memories of places I've visited or I think I've visited or maybe just glimpsed for a split second…if that makes sense!.... be it Cov or parts of the black country where I now live. The places/scenes in Shaws paintings seem so warm and inviting to me, he manages to promote sadness and gloom but in a tender uplifting way with only a hint of melancholy. Anyway enough of my waffle. His first exhibition was in early '99 at the Anthony Wilkinson Gallery in the east end of London www.wilkinsongallery.com/intro.html followed by another show late in 2001. Two years ago he had a large exhibition at the Ikon gallery in Birmingham www.ikon-gallery.co.uk/pastExhibitionsGeorgeShaw.htm where I bought several books showing and talking about his work.
    I've never found a site dedicated to his work but I'd love to put something together myself…..maybe some day.
    Hope this helps…enjoy.

    01 Apr 2005, 22:03

  8. Dale

    I'd like to buy his prints, and exhibit his work if possible. I'm trying to get in touch with him, any help would be great


    14 May 2005, 23:46

  9. Darren

    Dale – I think the best option would be to contact the Anthony Wilkinson gallery as they seem to represent the artist in the UK. Had a look round your site, excellent links and layout. Your not a Pompey fan by any chance, if so thanks for a great day on Sunday… – Darren.

    16 May 2005, 22:07

  10. John D'Arcy

    As a kid I grew up in Tile Hill. George Shaws paintings not only capture the true image of the estate but the actual soul, whatever you think of the place.

    05 Jun 2005, 01:12

  11. rosemary marsh

    As a Canadian and great fan of Edward Hoppers work I derived a great deal of pleasure from the C4 programme and seeing a local Artist (I now live only a few minutes from the tile Hill area of Coventry) and know several areas of his suject matter well eg the Banana Flats, the small shop, and parts of Jardine cres .I find his work exceptional as painting with enamel is very difficult as a medium to work with may he have many years of future works to delight us with

    24 Jun 2005, 14:25

  12. Janet Oddy

    I've developed a real craze on George Shaw's work after encountering his painting "Late" 2002 while studying an on-line art course offered by the Tate. I've recently obtained a catalogue for his "Ash Wednesday" exhibition at the Wilkinson Gallery and also the book / catalogue accompanying his past exhibition at the Ikon Gallery "What I did this summer". This latter catalogue was quite easy to order from a normal bookseller ISBN 0 907594 93X.

    07 Aug 2005, 17:27

  13. Darren

    To who it may concern…..George Shaw recently exhibited at the Anthony Wilkinson Gallery (link) the display was entitled Ash Wednesday.
    As Mr Shaw once said: 'I paint the paintings of all the times and all the thoughts I lack the language to describe. For the one single moment I can recall, I feel a dull sadness for the thousands I have forgotten.' I cannot say anymore. Enjoy.

    27 Oct 2005, 21:05

  14. Conor Eoghan Mullan

    To Whom it may concern….I read about George Shaw in the Observer about 4 years ago and his work just brought so many memories to me.Even though I didn't grow up in England,in fact where I grew up didn't even look like coventry but the feelings that his work brought back to me of my teenage years made me feel quite emotional.In no way do his paintings make me feel nostalgic ,in fact they make me feel rather sad but the power of them is unquestionable.
    I ended up buying a pencil sketch he did of Francis Bacon's studio after he died and it is amazing.If anyone would like to see it I could jpeg it to them.
    I don't know alot about what makes great art but anyone that I have ever showed my sketch to or pictures of his other work to are truly blown away.

    10 Nov 2005, 16:36

  15. tim lowly

    Thanks for the links Darren. You've probably seen this, but in case you have not:


    26 Nov 2005, 20:39

  16. sam mcnulty

    contact: 07723311025

    19 Feb 2006, 05:09

  17. gef

    I'm currently based in Perth Australia and hoping to get over to the UK in May, if anybody has any info on George Shaw exhibitions or works for sale, I'd really appreciate it.



    21 Mar 2006, 14:44

  18. Andrea

    I am lucky enough to work at the British Council in Manchester where we have the original '12 short walks' exhibiting in the coridoor. There is also an 'humberol' painting that is hung that is just breathtaking, not sure of it's name
    Until you see them hung yourself it's hard to explain how emotive they are. Just stunning.
    I know prints are available from the paragon press but if anyone has any info where an original can be bought It would be great to hear from you.

    18 Apr 2006, 16:44

  19. smellyellie12@hotmail.co.uk

    although i am only young and i don't live in a place like this estate in his paintings his work has really touched me. When I first saw his paintings I didn’t think much of them but as I saw more of his artwork the true beauty started to unravel. It has a feel of awkwardness and uncertainty, something quite simple into something magical. I like them because they exclude people; the scenes are places where the viewer is a forgotten soul and also because they are different– expressing the parts of the world that are hidden in the world of art.

    03 Jul 2006, 15:19

  20. James

    Has anyone tried the contact number? Is it for Mr Shaw? It seems a bit weird just ringing him up. Anyone here have any ideas of other means of contact or any news on this artist please?

    22 Aug 2006, 15:23

  21. michael rudd

    I’d never felt so at one with george shaws paintings. they evoke the same feeling for me as i spose they do for him. Childhood memories, the reminder and mystery of life and death. The way he speaks about his work hits a nerve with me. Although i’m a few decades apart from him, theres still an understanding. I was wondering if anyone knew how to contact him? I’m a practicing artist and just started a degree in fine art. It would be great to talk to him. Thanks

    10 Nov 2006, 11:08

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