George Shaw: The Abject Wilderness

Recently posted on YouTube is this fascinating presentation by George Shaw and Mark Hallett, discussing his career to date and the preparations for his looming retrospective at the Yale Centre for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, USA and the Holburne Museum, Bath, UK. The presentation took place earlier this month and ranges across almost his entire artistic life, taking in his post-graduate wilderness years where he started out experimenting as a hard-drinking, wild-living painter in the manner of Francis Bacon (see above), before the mid-90’s epiphany that began his 20+ years exploration of his childhood home of the Tile Hill estate and environs. It’s fascinating to hear  that what drove him to make the Tile Hill paintings in the first place was a violent reaction to the notorious ‘Sensation’ exhibition by the ‘YBA’s’, that he and his friends thought was “shit.” What better way to respond to a room full of dead meat and genitalia than to paint your childhood home, and the local pub, and the paths through the woods? As always, George’s observations about his work and the world are worth hearing, and the presentation includes a preview of one of the new works created specifically for the exhibition. I’m really looking forward to seeing this when it gets to Bath next year.

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