Lin & Lin Gallery is honoured to present British Contemporary artist George Shaw's first solo exhibition in Asia, A Scrap of History, curated by Eli Zagury and Tamar Arnon, showcasing the artist's latest enamel paints series of work. The scenes of English suburbs painted by Shaw are devoid of people and bleak, but they are very much implicated in each painting. Through that, we, the audience are invited to be involved in a fascinating, yet unsettling journey.
George Shaw was born and grew up in the Midlands, in the centre of England, in a working class household, the Shaw home was situated where the city ends and woodland begins. The transition between the suburbs and the woods has long informed Shaw's practice and laid the foundation for his trademark scenes. In his work, he continually explores the passage of time over decades with a body of work, which charts the urban landscape of his childhood home─could be graffiti on a street corner, or traces, marks left by someone in woods─and explores locations of youthful adventures or traumas. Sex, death, love, life, urban decay and identity provide the narrative for his engaging and melancholic oeuvre. In Shaw's paintings, scenes that at first seem quiet and contemplative become noisier richer the longer you observe them. The narratives mumble, accumulate outside of the paintings, and even extend to stories created by the viewers.
'All these images are scraps of history, as are the things I leave behind me whether they are paintings or dirty underpants, just as I am myself and my own story.' ─George Shaw
Shaw's painting uses a unique technique that he has perfected with the use of Humbrol enamel paints which is his specifically preferred medium. He carefully and skilfully applies the Humbrol paint onto a hard surface, which results in paintings that are minutely detailed. They possess distinctly, reflective, almost lacquered-looking finishes. Its high gloss provides a wet-looking surface even when it is dry– a quality that 'reflects the world back on itself.' These images are like unofficial history, recording certain scenes in the artist's hometown with an unique aura of stillness, as well as the nostalgia changes its appearance as seasons passed by, therefore becoming an almost autobiographical pictorial narrative. In Shaw's paintings─in overloaded prompts, in their all-pervasive mood of melancholy─the flow of time seems stopped; however, the spirituality it carries and projects is still gently undulating underneath. And by that, we can all find a shared moment of past growth experience through slipping between those images and ponder how the artist depicts his intimation of something broken, lost, or wounded in the elegiac landscape.
'In a sense, I'm painting my own departure –to keep going, until the final painting is empty, and you're no longer casting any shadow on it.' ─George Shaw
George Shaw, born in Coventry, UK in 1966, received his formal training at Sheffield Polytechnic and London's Royal College of Art. Notably, the artist was nominated for the Turner prize in 2011. He has had solo exhibitions such as 'A Corner of a Foreign Field' at Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, US, The Holburne Museum, Bath, England from 2018 to 2019, 'George Shaw: My Back to Nature' at The National Gallery, London in 2016, and 'The Sly and Unseen Day' at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK, The South London Gallery, London in 2011. Also group shows including 'Among the Trees' at Hayward Gallery, London in 2020, Manif d'art 9 – The Quebec City Biennial, Canada and 'From Turner to Hockney' at Hong Kong Museum of Art in 2019, 'Turner Prize 2011,' at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. 2014-2016 he had his two-year studio residency at the National Gallery, London. Today, Shaw's works are held in multiple public collections such as Arts Council Collection, The British Museum, British Council, Government Art Collection, National Museum of Wales, Southampton City Art Gallery, Tate Collection in UK, and Yale Center For British Art, Cincinnati Art Museum in USA.
Press release courtesy Lin & Lin Gallery.