George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field
SCENES FROM THE PASSION: THE BLOSSOMIEST BLOSSOM 2001
George Shaw (1966 – )
- 43 X 53 CM
- HUMBROL ENAMEL ON BOARD
- Accession number
This painting comes from an on-going series subtitled Scenes of the Passion that record the places, rather than specific incidents, in Shaw’s growing-up. Although they have the look of photo-realism, they have been altered through rigorous act of recall that renders them altogether different. The title of the series refers to the Stations of the Cross, and in a most literal way, the locations around the Tile Hill estate that he paints, are sites of Shaw’s becoming himself, of separating himself from a place that he can neither leave not stay in. But the real subject of Shaw’s paintings is the weight of memory. Working meticulously in model-makers enamel, Shaw paints from his snapshots of the places of his childhood on a council estate near Coventry in the post-industrial Midlands. Always empty of people, Shaw’s minutely detailed landscapes trace the artist’s determination to reconstruct not just the look, but the emotional charge of his memories. A far cry from a British landscape tradition in painting, this work does not glorify a rural idyll; instead it draws the viewer into the unremarkable, melancholy spaces between suburb and countryside – a geography familiar to adolescents wandering around the margins of their neighbourhood.
Micro/Macro, British Council and Mücsarnok, London and Budapest 2003
Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection (www.tate.org.uk). There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.
Work of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is a tightly stretched piece of canvas, paper or a wooden panel. Painting involves a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's intellectual concerns effecting the content of a work.