George shaw the sly and unseen day book
ISBN 13: 9781903655306
And if this is indeed the case, that artist is likely to be George Shaw; in recent years his work has featured regularly in group displays at Tate Britain. A pared-down version of this exhibition has now travelled to London, where it is beautifully and very simply hung in just one gallery space, at the South London Gallery. Yet with Shaw's meticulous attention to detail and consummate skill, these muted paintings offer a quiet, and quietly seductive, celebration of the realist tradition. For the last 15 years the artist has painted the two square miles around the estate in which he spent his childhood. Tile Hill, in Coventry, is wholly typical of the council estates that were built in England in mass social housing projects in the Sixties and Seventies. Now they are run-down: libraries, shops and pubs are closed; graffiti and splashes of paint daub walls; subways are unlit, ominous places.
I n one of his early poems, entitled "I Remember, I Remember", Philip Larkin described a train journey that took him unexpectedly through Coventry, the city in which he was born and where "my childhood was unspent". Larkin evokes that childhood in a litany of lost opportunities and chances not taken, but concludes: "It's not the place's fault… Nothing, like something, happens anywhere. Those lines keep coming to mind as I leaf through scans of George Shaw's paintings of Coventry — or, to be precise, the two square miles of Coventry that constitute the Tile Hill housing estate on which he grew up — on the final leg of my train journey from London to Ilfracombe, where, for reasons that never become entirely clear, Shaw has now settled. Landscape artists once sought the sublime through the rendering of pastoral scenes, but Shaw, in common with many contemporary photographers, as well as English "kitchen sink" painters of an older generation, records the mundane, the quotidian and the overlooked. In doing so, he somehow renders the everyday mysterious. Here is a drab lane of graffitied garages ending in an ominous-looking wood.
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Estate of mine: George Shaw introduces The Sly and Unseen Day at Baltic
This solo exhibition by British artist George Shaw brings together paintings made over the past 15 years which chart the urban landscape of his childhood home on the Tile Hill Estate in Coventry. Meticulously painted houses, pubs, underpasses and parks become autobiographical notes, frozen in time. George Shaw was born in Coventry, England in As a painter, Shaw is known for his use of Humbrol enamel paint, normally the preserve of young model-makers, and while landscape as his subject, he focuses on the suburban surroundings of his childhood rather than the countryside. His paintings and drawings depict bus stops, phone boxes, pubs and graffiti against a backdrop of semidetached homes, blocks of flats and expanses of grey sky.
By Alastair Sooke. But, try as I might, his paintings leave me cold. Eighteen paintings by Shaw are now on show at the South London Gallery, in an edited version of an exhibition called The Sly and Unseen Day that was at the Baltic gallery in Gateshead earlier this year. Each picture presents a different view of the Tile Hill estate in suburban Coventry, where Shaw grew up. Instead, we see drab architectural features, usually front-on: pebble-dashed houses, down-at-heel municipal buildings, locked garage doors, graffiti-splattered walls, decrepit fences and concrete walkways. He favours Humbrol enamel paints — used by boys to decorate model Spitfires — on board. Shaw paints with deliberate?
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