PAINTING GEORGE SHAW: WHAT I DID THIS SUMMER Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, Sat 24 Jan-Sun 21 Mar

George Shaw freely admits that the subject matter of his paintings is banal. He depicts pub car parks, bus stops, footpaths, graffiti-covered underpasses and pebble-dashed council houses of the area of Tile Hill in Coventry where he grew up. These mundane images, rendered in enamel model-making paint, meticulously immortalise his childhood memories of place. But far from being impenetrable, personal studies, Shaw’s work

presents us with a very familiar place. It could be any post-war, edge-of-town housing estate in Britain. Devoid of people or signs, it captures the detail, whether it be a painting of the many trees dotted around the estate or the path that separates


Scenes from the Passion: Ten Shilling Wood 2002

childhood. Their finish not only adds gloss to a drab subject matter but makes reference to the amateur or the obsessive, busy with their creations in their attics or

‘I like the way they resonate with a vaguely childhood

neighbouring woods from the houses. Each painting provides a warm feeling of déja-vu and nostalgia.

‘I used to think that Tile Hill was such a featureless landscape,’ says Shaw. ‘Nobody famous came from here, nobody comes here apart from leaving here but now I’m seeing it in a completely different way.’

Over the course of time, working from photographs and memory, Shaw began to take out new additions to his remembered landscapes, but then he realised that, in some cases, he was also leaving them in. ‘I’m now thinking that this place doesn’t exist at all,’ he says. ‘Perhaps it’s something in between, something in my head, a mythological world that I’m creating.’

Shaw’s clever use of Humbrol paints, the kind used to decorate Airfix kits, regresses the paintings further into

association of working in your bedroom on a Saturday afternoon with the sound of Grandstand in the background, while you painted Anne Boleyn,’ says Shaw. ‘There’s a kind of perversity to try and create a painting for a gallery using the same stuff that someone is painting a tree in the background of their model train set with.’

What I Did This Summer also features 20 watercolours of the same area in Coventry, focusing on a single dirt track painted at different seasons and at different times of the day. And along with his works in enamel, he manages to capture the atmosphere of a place, the changing light and mood of the urban landscape, while stirring up memories of the past. (Helen Monaghan)


Royal Scottish Academy Building, Edinburgh, until Sun 29 Feb 0000

Dancers in Red Skirts, c 1876-84

'T'rnk o‘ Degas and ‘.‘J.".Ltl in‘medrately schngs to ir‘rnd are ballet dancers. sceries ‘ro'n the orzera and nudes. Degas and the ltt’rr’rarrs rn Par/s doesi‘t firsapixx'tt here but it aLso explores the

(t7l1‘>..‘>(,()7":(:(,ll()llf) .'.'|.l ltal,_ froir his

76 THE LIST 9? r‘, I rrt, .V

extended family ties in Naples and his travels to the country from 18:30 to how tour Paris-based Italian artists Boldini. Zandomeneghr. De Nittis and Rosso took great Inspiration from his experimental techniques.

In the first room of the RSA's lower galleries is a series of early portraits and sketches of his Neapolitan fanrily. including a wonderful study of his cousin Giulia Berlellr. The portrait of Giovanna and Giulia Bel/el/r derrronstrates Degas' fondness for the less conventional I)()"If£lll poses: the two sisters are almost sitting back-to-back (their mother described then‘ as being very UllélllkU'.

Degas' talent in pruntrrtaking is also illustrated. sharing wall space with some 'vxer‘y fine (EXEtlI‘IHCE; by De Nittrs with his etching of Degas l'l profile and Boldini's

portrait o‘ Whistler sleeping. But of all the

‘.‘.'()t'kf; on shout: it is the snapshots of

n‘ooer." Parisian lfe. tire dancers and the

batners tl‘at make the S‘tiot) entrance

fee ‘.".’OITll‘.‘./llll(3. Degas chose not to depict the action on stage. preferring to catch people unawares. Ballerinas wait in the wings in Dancers in Red Skrr’ts while a final adjustment to a stocking is made in The Dance Exam/natron.

In the final tO()lI‘ Degas' later pastels of women intirrtately washing and drying themselves are iuxtaposed ‘.'.’!lll Slll‘lléll‘ works by Zandomeneghi. Degas' pastels verge on the abstract a not of autumnal colours and agitated strokes as the flame-red hair of the model seeps into the flesh. furniture and fabrics. Zanrlomeneghr's works are more controlled and sensual but ultin‘ately rack Degas' energy.

T'ollou'xrng up last year's Monet biockbuster' '-.'.'as never going to be easy and. at tin‘es. this very intirrfate exhibit.on is confusing. \"‘.’hat it does succeed in doing as s'ro‘.'.':.".g us exact, ‘.'.'nat sets Degas apart from his |‘. coteagues. rHelen Monagharr


News from the world of art

Charles Jencks’ Landform

GIASGOW'S GALLERY OF Modern Art and the National Gallery Of Modern Art in Edinburgh have both been selected for the Gulbenkiz‘tn Prize for Museum of the Year. The 5.7100000 award is gwcn annually to a museum or gallery to reward innovation and excellence. and there are 13 protects in total or: the shortlist. GOMA's Sanctuary exhibition. which was on. show from April last year. explored issues of aSylum seekers. human rights and their abuse. and featured works by Ross Sinclair. Kenny l-lunter. Bill Viola and Shirrn Neshat. The SNGMA is shortirsted for Charles Jencks' Landform, the stunning soulpted landfOrrn which comprises a stepped. crrcolar-sl’raped mound wrth three crescent-shaped pools of water. situated in front of the gallery. The Judgmg pane! includes Loyd Grossman. Joan Bakeweré and Rosie Millard and the '.".r:r‘.r‘.er will be announced on ‘: 1 May 2004.

ARTIST-RUN INITIATIVE Magnifitat and the Embassy are seeking submissions for their forthcoming art event at Edinburgh College of Art. Due to be held in ECA’s grand sculpture court on Thursday 4 March, it is the fourth in a series of already successful evenings. Artists working in video, performance, multimedia and sound are invited to apply. Email your proposal to or send it to the Embassy, 12/8 St Peters Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9PH by Friday 20 February. For more information call Jenny on 0131 229 1442.

A IWO DAY CONT? [Ht-NU}. Exchange. takes place at the L.ighth0use iI‘i Glasgow on 21’ 8. as January. Open to craft makers and craft relate-d professionals throughout Scotland. the event features workshops and lectures :r: an effort to establrsn or r )itllirttt contacts and networks I". the applied arts community rr‘;

Scotlant '.