JOSEPH SHAW

"DEAD (Excited)"

BOILER  ROOM  GALLERY

20th June to 14th August 2022

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EXHIBITION STATEMENT

Dead (Excited) is a collection of paintings created with the aim of exploring both traditional and unconventional medium working in tandem. The paintings have been developed slowly over the past 8 years and have been revisited many times to keep them relevant, flexible and joyful, adding multiple layers of different medium to build the character of each image. The materials converse with each other to ask the viewer questions such as ‘what is meant by quality?’, ‘how do you define proper artistic process?’ and ‘what is that smell?’. 

ARTIST STATEMENT

Since 2010 I have been working as an artist making paintings, drawings and mixed media works. During this time, I attended Westminster University to study Mixed Media Fine Art and later began working with children, first through the arts and later as a primary school teacher. The experience of growing up and losing one’s fluency and freedom of expression, due to increased inhibitions and societal pressures, is something that has always informed my practice. Working creatively with children has reinforced this interest in using play and exploration to recapture artistic purity. We are all born with an innate ability to communicate visually without the worry of what is “good” or “bad”, and it is only through deconstructing our learnt behaviours that an adult can regain these skills. 

With a focus on the serendipitous nature of mark-making, my work attempts to rediscover freedom and explores what happens when different mediums clash together to form subjective representations, often deconstructed to leave much of the work open to the interpretation of the viewer. Playing with the rules of painting etiquette and taste has allowed me to find a sense of joy and liberation in my work that has taken the best part of a decade to establish. 

Working with a miscellaneous set of medium, many of my paintings have been long term projects that have been slowly layered and added to over the years, giving these works dynamic longevity and an almost sculptural quality. Having recently moved back to Oxford from London, I have brought these works to a close and I am now ready to allow them to end their evolution and become “finished”. 

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