Andries Bezuidenhout. George Shaw en die digterdag

Die skildery hier bo, getiteld “Poets Day”, is deur die Britse skilder George Shaw. Ek is nie heeltemal seker hoe om sin daarvan te maak nie, alhoewel ek op ʼn instinktiewe vlak baie daarvan hou. Shaw is in die nuus omdat hy op die kortlys vir die Turner-prys is – ʼn onwaarskynlike aanspraakmaker, omdat sy werk amper fotorealisties is. Die Turner-prys word gewoonlik aan kunstenaars toegeken wat meer konseptueel werk. Shaw gebruik Humbrol-verf vir sy skilderye – die tipe kleure wat gebruik word om modelvliegtuigies te verf – wat die eindprodukte ʼn vreemde, blink tekstuur gee.  

Tog is die gesprekke wat Shaw se posisie op die kortlys in die media ontketen het nogal interessant. Daar word kommentaar gelewer op die feit dat hy meestal council estates uit die 1970s verf, veral tonele uit Coventry, waar hy grootgeword het. Philip Larkin kom ook van Coventry, soos Tim Adams in die Observer noem: “Philip Larkin, another Coventry exile – Shaw now lives in north Devon – would have loved these paintings, but they are made with love as much as any kind of bitterness. They are also a hard act to follow.”

Die volgende deur Charles Darwent in die Independent: “I’d love it if George Shaw won, though I doubt he will. The trouble here is that Shaw’s paintings are the opposite of attention-grabbing, being, on the face of it, archaically skilful. They are landscapes and cityscapes, although, being modern, they are not picturesque. Very much not: the scenes Shaw depicts are of a grungy 1950s housing estate in Coventry, the setting of his own childhood… That is nothing new, either: the bringing of high-art techniques to low-art subjects is a favourite Postmodern game. That Shaw paints in Humbrol colours – the ones used for model aeroplanes – might also be put down to a bit of conceptual playing around, ironic nostalgia. Except that the result doesn’t feel like that: it feels both new and – shock! – sincere. The sheen of Shaw’s paint glazes his surface, so that we are actually looking at the deadening places he paints; a déja vu we didn’t want to see, even once.”

En Jonathan Jones se blog op die Guardian se werf, met ʼn verwysing na die skildery hier bo: “Shorn of people, it is the scenography of everyday life that achieves poetry in these paintings. A wall spattered with red – paint or blood? – is called Poets Day. In another painting we see a dilapidated public library. If Shaw looks back to a Britain of the 1970s and 1980s, his morbid nostalgia now has a more political edge, in spite of his introspective intentions. It might be argued that Britain is about to take in reality the same journey he takes in imagination, back to neglect… In the end, it is a poignant eye for images of eerie emptiness that makes Shaw special.”

Hier onder is nog ʼn paar foto’s van Shaw se skilderye.

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