PREVIEW:George Shaw: My Back to Nature @National Gallery

The National Gallery have announced a new display of the National Gallery’s Rootstein Hopkins Associate Artist’s work, exploring and celebrating the gallery’s collection of art. 

George Shaw in his studio. (c) National Gallery, London. 

Artist George Shaw has been a regular visitor to the National Gallery in London since he was a teenager. Armed with a sketchbook he would regularly travel to London to draw from works by artists he admired in the gallery’s collection.

Since 2014, he has had a studio right at the heart of the National Gallery, allowing him to explore the collection out of hours, draw from the pictures, observe the people and find inspiration from other work to inspire his own with the result of this new display.

George Shaw: My Back to Nature will include more than 50 new paintings and drawings, many of which are woodland landscapes to explore the clash of cultures; classical stories linked with the traces of similar, timeless behaviour in the modern world, also the portrayal of religion.

Talking about the work he has created for the display artist Shaw said: “I think the best person for the job would have been me at 15 or 16. He would have been in the gallery 18 hours a day for two years. I accepted it on his behalf and did the best job I could. As it turns out the longer I spend here the earthier and more profane the collection gets.”

National Gallery Director Dr Gabriele Finaldi says: “Best known for his landscapes of semi-urban dereliction, in this exhibition – the fruit of two-and-a-half years spent at the National Gallery as Associate Artist – George Shaw gives his take on the Gallery’s mysterious wooded enclaves painted by Titian, Bellini, Poussin and Constable. By turns witty, irreverent, thoughtful, George Shaw’s new works remind us that looking at pictures can be a very serious business.”

George Shaw: My Back to Nature will be on display in the Sunley Room at the National Gallery from the 11th May to the 30th October. Admission to the display is free. 


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