Exhibition Preview: Jim Shaw: The Rinse Cycle, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, until February 17 2013
© Courtesy Jim Shaw / Praz-Delavellade, Paris
The 1970s pre-punk band Destroy all Monsters, which Jim Shaw founded with fellow University of Michigan art students Mike Kelley and Lynn Rover, marked the beginning of a journey of public self-expression for the artist.
His painting came to international attention during the 1980s and 1990s, with a series of large scale works plundering popular culture imagery, ranging from art history and politics to myth and religion.
His body of work since then has embraced sculpture, film and installation, reacting to the clutter of everyday life and the detritus of American religion, politics and pop culture.
The Rinse Cycle is the first to bring 25 years of output together under one roof, including his recent monumental banner paintings, his Dream Drawings and his first major project, My Mirage, which charts the psychedelic progress of his alter-ego, Billy, through Middle America.
His two-part Cake paintings, which emerged in 2010, layer diverse art-historical and psychological references on top of inkjet prints of iced cakes from 1950s household magazines.
And his series exploring his fictitious “faith for the faithless", Oism, resulted in a series of sculptures, performances and writings together with a group of abstract expressionist paintings.
Throughout this comprehensive survey the style is humorous, symbolic, instinctive and surreal, with a spirit of mocking cynicism.
For those who want to delve deeper into this kaleidoscopic world, BALTIC’s new city centre outpost, BALTIC 39, is hosting You Think you own your Stuff but your Stuff owns You, Shaw’s collection of paintings found in the thrift stores and flea markets of his native Los Angeles.
A kind of repository of source material of found aesthetics and plainly bad art, it provides an insight into Shaw’s artistic vision.
- Open 10am-6pm (10.30am-6pm Tuesday, closes 5pm December 24 and 31, closed December 25-26 and January 1). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @balticmill.
© Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York
© Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London