George Shaw – Various Works.

All artwork courtesy of George Shaw.

George Shaw makes very quiet and reserved paintings based on the Coventry council estate which he grew up on. – interesting take on Lowry’s work, and explains a bit about Shaw’s influences. – Guardian article.

“To me, they are teeming with human presences,” he says. “The people I grew up with, family, passers-by, they are all in there somewhere, embedded in the paintings.” – Shaw.

his paintings hark back to a time when things seemed simpler. He is a painter of everyday life as it is, or was when he was younger, though there is precious little life in his paintings: no adults, no children, no mongrels or pitbulls or startled wood pigeons, just quiet, deserted places.

I first encountered George Shaw’s work in a small book entitled What I Did This Summer, published in 2003 by the Ikon gallery. I was initially taken aback by the strange familiarity of Shaw’s urban landscapes, these in-between places that could belong to any suburban hinterland in any neglected British town. They reminded me in some unspecific but uncannily atmospheric way of the Northern Irish streets I haunted as an uncertain adolescent: the same redbrick enclaves and litter-strewn waste grounds, the same scrubby patches of green dotted with tired trees, the same neglected sheds, garages and potholed paths, the same mundane houses, boarded-up pubs and makeshift corner shops.

Time and time again, Shaw’s paintings of Tile Hill, which he describes as “essentially one big painting”, evoke the remembered experience of a particular kind of working-class adolescence in which waiting around – on street corners, in bus shelters, outside shops – becomes an end in itself. The psycho-geography of his youth seems to exert an almost obsessive hold on Shaw’s adult imagination. Why does he keep going back there, literally and metaphorically?


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