George Shaw “waz ere”, in Coventry

18 of November saw the opening of Turner Prize nominee George Shaw exhibition, entitled “I was ‘ere”.

The exhibiton features paintings by George Shaw depicting landscapes of Coventry urban area, especially Tile Hill, from 1996 to 2010, humbrol enamel in board. The exhibition also shows water coulours, created in 2011 and early sketches, 1970 to 1980.

George Shaw grew up in Tile Hill in Coventry. In 1998 Shaw completed an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art, where he began to paint the area from his childhood. Shaw has exhibited internationally, but this is his first solo show in the city where he grew up. He was shortlisted for the Turner prize in 2011, for his 2010 Painting: The Resurface, humbrol enamel on board.

Shaw described his exhibition as: “The painting that I have made since 1996 of Tile Hill have become a kind of I waz ere –  my name written all over the estate in a futile attempt to stop time slipping sadly through my fingers. The paintings are witness to what is no longer there.”

Written by  Diana Popovici

On the water-coulours, Shaw observes that: “(The watercolours) are the result of recent walks around the block, as we used to call them. They focus on the brokes, abandoned, or defaced remains of lives and times spend or unspent.”

Sally Johnson, Marketing and Communication Assistant tells me the exhibition has been so far, very popular: “It’s been really succesfull, we’ve had 500 people come visit just on the launch night, including people from Tile Hill. Visitors were really supportive, they came to celebrate an artist from Coventry. People walked around discussing were the paintings were made, they really responded to that.”

The comments left on the commets sheet in the exhibition room were also very positive, one visitor wrote that the exhibition was an “amazing snapshot of growing in Coventry”, another one described the exhibition as “beautifully mundane.”

A visitor from Northampton observed: “I was here too! I lived in Tile Hill slightly before, but recognised it as home in my early years.Very strange but interesting to see it again.

Another insightful visitor wrote that Shaw ” really captured the bleakness of the area”, while another one wrote that the exhibition “shows real beauty in urban environment.

George Shaw used for his “I was ere” collection Humbrol enamel paints on medium density fibre boards (MDF) to create highly realistic paintings. The exhibition is open and free of charge until 11 March 2012.


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