George Shaw at Antony Wilikinson Gallery London UK

From: Rudi Scholl
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 20 November 2001


I have followed Shaw's career for a considerable time now, his humbol depiction of local localities seems to have caught the press' and public's imagination, with a five star review of Shaw's show appearing in the Guardian newspaper recently, we are intrigued by his mysteriously faithful depictions.

Landscape from Poussin to Cezanne to Rothko always was grand with ideas, classicism, or aesthetic revolution. Shaw by unearthing the green loci of his childhood and neighbourhood, superficially depicting each blade of grass, but indicating a Kind of British garden not yet seen, one stifled before by English painting's overwhelming middleclassness, with David Rayson,unveils the true verdant ugliness of most of our raindamaged country.

Does the end justify the means for these realistic painters? It seems most probable that the continuing ecstatic regard for the UK figurative, a history darkened by the overblown Freud, Auerbach, Kossof, is but another symptom of an Island's defiance against the sea of Modernism, and on the one hand in Shaw's painting we are taken to novel locales on the other hand we are stuck in the painty mud of tedious old depiction. It is in the painting where these paintings live least, where they should live most, time to thow away the enamel rule book and experience the freedom of expression permitted by painting's long history, even if it has been rarely embraced by Britain's timid-middle class practitioners.

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