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Jamie Shaw – Shadows

Wednesday 18 May 2011
Words Spindle

“Shadows evokes the mystical and sometimes haunting experiences we have when exploring woods – the play of light through the canopy, the infinite palette of texture and shade, and the endless opportunity for adventure.”

This gives you a taste of what you can expect at ‘Shadows’, an exhibition by Brighton-based Jamie Shaw at Artist Residence Hotel and Gallery in Hove.

In his abstract expressionist paintings, trees and branches seem to loom overhead but these are merely suggested. Tied with the music in the background, one has the sense of being lost in a forest.

“I wanted to instil simultaneously a feeling of both claustrophobia and boundless freedom in the viewer.”

The project took two months to put together and was created in conjunction with the hotel. Despite it being a small space, Jamie’s large-scale paintings don’t feel confined. Indeed, every part of the downstairs area of the hotel is used. There are even paintings on the stairs. To get up close you are forced to explore.

You can easily get lost in the detail of Jamie’s paintings. They loom threateningly while at the same time drawing you in. Stand up-close and you can appreciate the different textures that make up the picture. The heavy streaks of acrylic paint stand in contrast with the flecks of spray paint. Stand back and you can take in the image as a whole. The shapes easily evoke thoughts of tree branches and roots, while splashes of colour simulated shadows and the sky. However, this is only a loose description and one that will change when you look again.

“I don’t have hopes for what people will see, it shouldn’t work like that. If you enjoy looking at it and if it gives you food for thought that makes me happy. What thoughts people may be having isn’t for me to determine.”

The elm leaf by the door of the gallery stands out as it is the only print there. It is actually one of three including a horse chestnut leaf but they weren’t included for practical reasons. It feels awkward next to the abstract paintings but it does offer a hint the other projects Jamie has worked on.

‘Shadows’ isn’t Jamie’s only offering at Brighton Fringe. On May 21st, he will be doing a live collaboration with cellist Peter Gregson at Hectors House. This is a reprise of Jamie’s live painting experience originally created for the Courvoisier Revolutionary Spirit Festival (Read what Spindle had to say about it here). And after that? “I will be looking to get a studio in London”. We expect great things from Jamie in the future.

Where: Artist Residence Hotel & Gallery, 33 Regency Square

When: 6 weeks from 7th May