George Shaw’s paintings seduce the viewer with their color and secret. They are investigations of home and house, Shaw’s personal continent of experience. He studied painting at Massachusetts College of Art, graduating with honors, and works during the day as a master carpenter. Shaw also has a certificate in historic architectural preservation. The paintings of a single house on an unnamed landscape provoke and free a sense of light, time and place and within those realms release a vulnerable precariousness. The seen feeling is a Hopper-esque isolation, a captured desire just out of grasp; a moment saturated with color and suggestion. The secret within the house is a light; life is happening.
Shaw said, however that his intention is not to be inside the house but to be approaching it. “Life is an illusion,” he says, “we’re on a journey but we don’t know where. Meanwhile, we’re all looking for home.” Home according to George, is a sense of place and security.
Shaw’s been producing paintings in his house series for two years. His day job, finish carpenter, gives him the opportunity to be a voyeur in many people’s houses and family life. He sees how people value their space and what they desire to have inside their house, how they create comfort and security and control the chaos and tentativness of life in their immediate surroundings. “A lot of times it’s the idea they have of a house that people strive to attain.”
The paintings are very American in their idea of lone individualism, masculine in their frankness, saturated in color intelligence, and layered with spiritual meaning of potential ascension. Technically, Shaw’ paints on board using oil, powdered pigment, wax and glazes. He usually begins with the color in the sky and works his way down the board to the earth, knowing intuitively when the color needs to change. In many paintings a line of oil pastel defines the meeting line of heaven and earth, adding an intense seam of drama to that line where souls eventually ascend.
In the realm of the house, in search of the real resting place for family and soul, Shaw has positioned the viewer between the lure of the everlasting and the possibility of attaining that reality, sensation, idea, hope . A place we all hope to attain: home.
George Shaw is a member of Atlantic Works Gallery. An exhibit of his work “Home Again” is on exhibit at Galatea Fine Art in Boston, June 1-26, 2016. Upcoming shows at Atlantic Works, East Boston, and Colo Colo Gallery in New Bedford in the fall of 2016.
Written by Christine Palamidessi