A path opens onto an unremarkable suburban spot, disappearing behind an algae-covered wall defaced with graffiti. Beyond, a high-rise looms, its square windows staring blankly out. Bare trees and an icy sky emphasise the wintry February of the painting's subtitle, 'Valentine's Day'.
Amid the desolation, tiny blades of grass and pebbles lie in the foreground, painted with an immense delicacy reminiscent of that of the Pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais in his painting 'Ophelia' (1851-52). George Shaw paints almost exclusively with Humbrol enamel paint, usually used in model making. Its glossiness accentuates the photo-realism of his work, while the limited palette of brown, green, khaki, black and white bring a consistency of colour.
This work is from the series 'Scenes from the Passion', first exhibited in London in 1999. Although the title refers to the Christian Stations of the Cross, the scenes do not represent this subject. They show places around the Tile Hill housing estate in Coventry where Shaw grew up. By deliberately omitting identifiable people, cars and signs from his images, he avoids placing a scene within a specific time. Instead, he focuses on recapturing and fixing his nostalgic memories of the streets and places of his teenage years.
George Shaw studied at Sheffield Polytechnic (1986-89) and at the Royal College of Art, London. He has had solo exhibitions in Birmingham and Dundee (2003-04) and has exhibited in international group shows. Since 1996 he has lived and worked in London.
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