Wednesday 1 January 2014


Happy 2014 to u all. I will start the year as I mean to go on - looking at exhibitions and art events on both sides of the Atlantic. 
Calcutta born, St Martins London educated, Shaw's detailed erotic dreamscapes are painted with 3D delicacy, rather like cloisonné on canvas. Inspired by Milton's Paradise Lost, his hybrids of man and beast fight & fly in settings of Piranesi-esque classical ruins. 
Shaw's cherubs have a deeply evil smirk as they fire their arrows at St Sebastian amid a field of gorgeous blood-red poppies. Fanged fish, prowling big cats, male lizards make up giant-size paintings, one 60ft long. Scary stuff - but memorable.

This seductive story telling of violent,
yet opulent fantasies embellished with enamel, glitter and crystal has been shown at Tate Britain, MoMA, the Met, Prague & Sydney.  In NY it occupies all 3 Pace galleries in Chelsea. 

Shaw begins by outlining with gold stained glass paint. Then, using porcupine quills for their precise point, he applies colourful enamel. Oil paints are used for modelling the images. Surface then embellished with inlaid semi-precious stones, glitter etc. Vulgar but irresistible.

At GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART,  there's another great show which, like Shaw, closes Jan 11th, so run see it. Templetons carpets are world famous with commissions from the White House, Titanic, Queens Coronation, Holyroodhouse and Scottish Parliament. Founded in Glasgow in 1843, it had a terrific in-house design department with commissioned outsiders including Voysey, Walter Crane, Frank Brangwyn, Mary Quant.

The show was researched by GSA textile staff member Helena Britt who has already interviewed over 30 folk with Templeton-Stoddard memories of working there. T-S was renowned for its design quality & the show, (a minute selection from the vast archive) is full of gorgeous floral, geometric, animal & oriental prints, folios, with1920s-30s especially well represented. 

We forget that 100 years ago - no internet, little photography, no xerox, travel by sea. So directors abroad brought home actual books, paintings, screens, design objects from all over the world to inspire their staff. Vibrant hand coloured pochoirs by guys like Benedictus, Delaunay, Seguy, Sorokine, are my favourites. GORGEOUS! 

John Byrne's play, The Slab Boys, from the 1970s, immortalised the people who ground pigments, sketched at the draughting table, worked the looms.(In an average year the 50 staff - majority MEN till mid 1980s - sharpened away 475 pencils, wore out 97 erasers, applied 700 lbs of paint to 10,000 sq inches of paper, using 960 brushes. Designs were transferred by hand onto gridded drafting paper with each square representing a different tuft of wool. 

Templetons was established in 1843 by a Paisley shawl producer and weaver. Stoddart joined on in 1871, and carpet design and manufacture became an important industry for the West of Scotland. Employees often had a job for life staying for over 50 years. Designers attended classes at GSA. When Stoddard finally closed in 2005, their Design Studio archive was up for grabs. Happily a combination of GSA, GU & Glasgow Life have saved the day.

Founded in 1845, Glasgow Art School has a long & golden reputation. New director Tom Inns comes from a design background. Welcome to him. And a new £50m building will house textiles and design depts when open later this year.  
        Film at

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for alerting me to your wonderful blog.
    Regards, Connie K, Michener Museum, USA