George Shaw

Born 1966, UK

Born in Coventry, Shaw got a BA in Fine Art from Sheffield Polytechnic and then went on to graduate with an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London. Shaw is one of the finest painters working in the UK today and has just been shortlisted for the 2011 Turner Prize. His paintings are included in the Tate’s permanent collection. Shaw’s practice also includes video-making, performance and writing.

Shaw was brought up on the Tile Hill estate in the Midlands and his work has seen him looking back over the scenes of his childhood and adolescence. The Coventry estate has changed a lot since his childhood and his nostalgic paintings reflect the anxiety of unfamilriaty when a pub vanishes overnight, a library is boarded up, garages are flattened etc.  Shaw is a modern day ‘Landscape’ painter, one that records the mundane, the common and the overlooked.

In his large charcoal drawings Shaw returns to the woods he has painted many times. These woods were there long before any of the houses and their inhabitants, but here too we see signs of the violence of time passing; some trees have fallen over in the wind or simply of old age, others have been cut down by unseen hands, paths are blocked and new clearings have appeared.

The influences Shaw cites in his work include the late landscapes of Millais, LS Lowry, Thomas Hardy, Terence Davies’ film Trilogy, the 70’s TV series Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, Philip Larkin and the music of The Specials and The Smiths.

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