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I've Got Something Against You

May 3rd - June 2nd, 2019


A reading of the classic essay In Praise of Shadows on Japanese traditional aesthetics by author Jun'ichiro Tanizaki (Tokyo, 1886 – 1965), gave rise to the ideas contained in I’ve Got Something Against You, artist Sarah Shaw’s most recent series of work and a marker of a significant point in her career.


Properties in aluminium and slate are explored alongside the more traditional oils on canvas, allowing for an unusual and sensual journey within light and shadow, and reflecting Shaw’s signature painterly explorations into all aspects of what it is to be a human being, in this time, with these thoughts, and in this skin.


I’ve Got Something Against You is a beautiful example of Tanizaki’s belief that “Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.” Shaw’s understanding and skilfully discreet construction of light and the human figure are cleverly accomplished by her subtle brush and intuition. Thoughtful nuances can be appreciated in every piece, every layer of paint, at times restrained, others emotional but incessantly loyal to the creation of lights, shadows and perhaps of a sensuality not often seen in the artist’s work.

Sarah Shaw

Sarah Shaw graduated from Falmouth College of Art in 2001 with a 1st Class Honours BA Degree in Fine Art and is now based in Brighton.


Sarah creates paintings that elegantly hover between figuration and abstraction while striving to inject them with enough room for personal interpretation. Her artwork speaks of a belief in the enduring vitality of painting as a primary form of communication. Shaw describes her inspiration as deriving from a quiet, almost meditative place.


Shaw explains that her process seems to always revolve around building up and stripping down of imagery, exploring different painterly languages then reducing down to the lowest denominator. By editing specific works and ideas she strives to capture the sense of a moment in time. These snatches of images, sounds and thoughts form a balance which she describes as ‘a painterly slideshow of memory’.


Shaw’s paintings often explore themes of beauty, history, the passing of time and the brevity of life.


Her work has been purchased by private collectors in the UK and abroad, and has been featured in many notable competitions. The artist has also been shortlisted for the prestigious Aesthetica and Threadneedle Art prizes.


Sarah recently was awarded the University of Chichester’s Award for Fine Art in the Regional Awards within the National Open Art Competition, where she has also been artist in residence.


Sarah primarily works in oil on canvas or paper but her paintings have also been translated into beautiful silkscreen and giclée limited-edition prints.

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