GEORGE SHAW Woodsman 28 February – 5 April 2009 - FAD Magazine

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GEORGE SHAW Woodsman 28 February – 5 April 2009

Woodsman was the new name of the local pub on the midlands estate on which Shaw was brought up. Years
before when it was called The New Star his mother worked there and his father had the odd drink there. Shaw
himself recalls it as being post-war British modern -‘which is a longer way of saying it was shite

and hardly warmed at all by the white heat of optimism promised by the period of its and the artist’s birth; ‘’I remember it as being dimly Victorian in a strange way. It was an age when the insides of pubs were hidden by net curtains so there wasn’t much daylight.” He does not know why it was renamed Woodsman but suspects it was part of a remarketing gamble.

However it soon caught fire and was later demolished. The corner on which it stood remains void and is no doubt a redevelopment opportunity.

Shaw’s previous work has seen him looking back over the scenes of his childhood and adolescence. In this new
show we see him looking again at those familiar places as they pass into unfamiliarity. He suspects things are
being taken from him and the work is gloomily shadowed by the anxiety of himself being taken; a pub vanishes
overnight, a library is boarded up, garages are flattened. In a series of large charcoal drawings Shaw returns to
the woods he has painted many times. These woods were there long before any of the houses and their
inhabitants, but here too we see signs of the violence of time passing; some trees have fallen over in the wind or
simply of old age, others have been cut down by unseen hands, paths are blocked and new clearings have
appeared. Old and new stumps stick up here and there.
Wilkinson Gallery
50 to 58 Vyner Street, London, E2 9DQ



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