Saturday, 12 March 2016

George Shaw's Memory Photographs Transformed into Paintings

Tom Morton in issue 67 of Freeze Magazine in 2002 calls George Shaw's paintings as "remembered landscapes". Morton describes a gritty environment in which Shaw grew up and how the artist had returned to the haunts of his youth to take photographs during his MA, at the Royal College of Art, in London. These shots became the solid foundation for a series of paintings that were stark in their photorealism, the landscapes grim suburban visas. Morton explains that Shaw describes his paintings like a "headstone marking a memory".

'The Fall' (1999): George Shaw's
What's apparent with this chosen subject matter is that the photographs Shaw takes, in the first instance, are designed to be used for his paintings. They are images which you wouldn't ordinarily photograph. These locations are off the beaten track places that are functional, or areas of the town in which you might not linger. Some of the buildings he paints are derelict or tagged with graffiti, and they may just be ordinary streets shots from spots you just wouldn't standstill in. They are framed in preparation for the further translation into paint.
Let's not forget these photographs that Shaw prints from are locations from his childhood. Areas that for him already have a visual repertoire and a series of memories attached to them. He is stimulated largely by memory but yet also his informed awareness of a kind of social deprivation that is current is also present in the photographs. For Shaw the relationship between his existence in these locations in the past and what they now mean to him in the future is a powerful one.
There is an absence of people insures paintings, and an air of anticipation or loss. The ceilings are generally run down and you can't help wonder how the subject of the painting manage to get to that situation. Morton in his summary of George Shaw paintings states that he can't help thinking "something terrible is about to happen" when he looks at the paintings and there is a definite sense of foreboding about the work. It doesn't help many of them have grey skies, the palette submerged in grey,  and it appears that it may have just rained, that it's cold and damp and these deliberate subject matters are designed to show the depression of the deprived English suburbs. 

MORTON, T. (2002) If...  Frieze Magazine Issue 67, [Online]

No comments:

Post a Comment