Stephen Shaw – professional artist with studios based at my home and in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, concentrating on the beautiful, but difficult, medium of Watercolour. Attempting to “push the boundaries” of how the medium is perceived and appears. Everthing you see is 100% artist quality transparent watercolour paint, made with brushes. I do not mix media.
The paintings are alive with colour and detail and focus on that which could generally perceived as drab, decaying, mundane, or overlooked. I rarely paint well known landmarks or tourist attractions. This is not “Olde Belfast”. I have stood before and recorded everything I’ve ever painted. Things change and become “old”, or memories, with time – and as they, for many reasons, disappear.
Although important elements, the work is not an exercise in nostalgia or historic documentation, but also, hopefully, a fresh way of looking at “everyday” places. Nothing is “normal”, everything is unique. Something of interest and beauty can be found almost anywhere. I see semi abstract compositions in the places that attract me and these are the basis of many of the paintings.
An underlying theme is the effects of nature and decay on the built fabric of Belfast, Ireland, and Beyond. How age, neglect, vandalism and natural weathering have rendered once pristine surfaces into multi coloured and textured semi abstract artworks in themselves. Time and the Elements of Nature becoming its own Artist.
Alienation, confrontation, provocation, memories and legacies of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland are present in the work. The effects of the destruction and redevelopment of Communities and Neighbourhoods in Belfast are also major influences.
And sometimes I will make a painting of somewhere I have seen and liked, just because I want to… Often, hopefully (?) including a subtle sense of humour to the work.
I’ve had many successful solo Exhibitions, most notably in Red Barn Gallery, Belfast, in February 2012, where a 30+ year “retrospective” of my work based in the Shankill area of Belfast was received with both critical acclaim and commercial success. I’ve also held solo Exhibitions in distinguished local venues such as the Linen Hall Library, Queen’s University and The Ulster Hall in central Belfast. Work has also been included in many prestigious Group Exhibitions and is available in several local Art Galleries. Much work is held in private collections throughout Ireland and the UK. And abroad in USA, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand.