George Shaw’s ‘The New Houses’ at BALTIC presents Turner Prize 2011
George Shaw says he wants ‘non-art audiences’ to appreciate his paintings, and I can see how they would (despite the Daily Mail who could only note that one included a dog-shit bin). There is a real sense in which they document what the Coventry sub urban landscape has looked like, and really looks like now. So there is a sense in which they are not paintings about painting. Maybe it is because I am filtering for it that I do find lots in his paintings, (showing at BALTIC presents Turner Prize 2011, until 8th January 2012) about the process of painting.
Am I wrong to see in ‘The New Houses’ a painting of nothing, much in the same way that some abstract painters have painted ‘nothing’?
And I must be reading in the metaphor of a blank canvas as I view the muddy ground where further new houses will be built, and consider the way in which the barriers around the building site create frames and therefore paintings within a painting, the whole becoming a meta-painting. ‘Meta’ in the sense that it is a painting that includes the smaller paintings that are held within the overall frame, and ‘meta’ also in that it is a painting about the subject of painting, a comment on painting as an act of construction, built on the razed ground of whatever was there previously, painting possibly even as a counter-creation, replacing the ‘natural’ with the artificial.