's blog covering community artists, gallery shows, and the whereabouts of young entrepreneurs and artistic talents from NY, LA, London, Paris, the world.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eric Shaw: In the House

The work featured by Eric Shaw in his new, one-man exhibition is a perfect sampling of the artist’s highly referential and tightly themed art. The show presents a series of painstakingly ornamental and stylized interior works. With meticulous attention paid to the intricacy of patterning, the non-gestural works actually gain body as the illusory effect of the twisting and turning lines weave and form patchworks of decoration. Meanwhile, Shaw makes appropriate reference to those who have preceded him in the same vein. With a clear grounding in history, there are smatterings of Op Art , ancient Mesoamerican symmetrical work, a de Kooning-esque portrait, and Pop Art explorations of camouflage and tie-dye. Like Édouard Vuillard within his own interior works, Shaw often flattens his dimensions and lets the embellished texture speak for itself. The amalgam of references is well taken though not overpowering and the artist is able to move forward with his own original thesis.

The most enigmatic aspects of these pieces are the representations of figures. Ambiguous and often androgynous, they are faceless with uniform physique and shoulder-length black hair; their bodies cut off or contorted at awkward angles. It is notable that they are simple, line-drawn creatures, bereft of the phantasmagorical color and detailing that permeates the works that they inhabit. As these blank humans reside within the Technicolor playgrounds that Shaw has created, the depiction is evocative. Man, in this world, appears very simple when compared to his environment.

Overall, the work is strong in style and creativity. Shaw uses an distinctive (almost 1950s retro) color palette to create his interiors making the work playful. His application of the palette to established patterns like camouflage or the normally two-tone, hard-edge abstraction that Bridget Riley uses in her optical art maintains the work’s lightheartedness. What makes it especially noteworthy is the juxtaposition of styles and object representations. Shaw does not partake in academic dimensionality or typical scaling. This technique creates a visual puzzle. When viewed, each piece needs to be broken down as furniture, wall hangings, and other fittings, organized and cognitively registered. Truthfully, at first examination, the works seem a little too big a mouthful to swallow. Once time is spent with them, however, the pictures reveal themselves as thoroughly conceived and carefully produced living areas.

“Eric Shaw: In the House” is available for private viewing at the selfportrait gallery until September 12th. The gallery is open from 12pm to 5pm. To arrange a viewing, for a complimentary catalogue, or for pricing please email

Photos courtesy of Antwan Duncan -


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