Hotly-tipped storyteller George Shaw brings The Sly and Unseen Day to BALTIC Gateshead

By Ben Miller | 25 February 2011
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A photo of a garage on a housing estate
George Shaw, Scenes from The Passion: The Cop Shop (1999-2000). Humbrol enamel on board© The Artist. Courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London
Exhibition: George Shaw – The Sly and Unseen Day, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts, Gateshead, until May 15 2011

George Shaw is rapidly building a reputation through mundanity. Best known for his spooky paintings taken from photographs around his bleak childhood home on the Tile Hill Estate in Coventry, he deals in grey skies, rain-sodden pavements, slabs of concrete, rusting garages and withered trees engulfed in gloom.

A photo of a bright yellow sunset on a darkened entrance to a school
Ash Wednesday: 8.30am (2004-5). Humbrol enamel on board© The Artist. Courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London
These canvasses are alive with inexplicit narratives and tension, from the peculiarity of Englishness to nostalgia for a lost childhood and the beauty in the ordinary.

A photo of the entrance to a forest showing a leaf-strewn path with green trees
Scenes from The Passion: The Way Home (1999). Humbrol enamel on board© The Artist. Courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London
The Age of Bullshit pictures a demolished pub, The Assumption makes the gates of a local school resemble a scene from a sinister fairytale and a series on the estate, Ash Wednesday, depicts it hour-by-hour during the course of a single day.

An image of a row of terraced houses on an estate with small lawns outside
George Shaw No. 57 (1996). Humbrol enamel on board© The Artist. Courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London
The artist’s largest solo show to date is accompanied by a new piece of fiction by Peter Hobbs, but Shaw’s masterful powers of suggestion are certain to leave viewers forming their own stories for each piece.

  • Open 10am-6pm (10.30am-6pm Tuesday). Admission free.
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