George Shaw and Graham Chorlton make New Art Gallery THE place to be

LEYTONSTONE 1995199 2012
Above, Leytonstone 1995, 1999, 2012, by Laura Oldfield Ford

There is a Place…. where you can find works by six artists in a thematic show which brings together some great scenes of urban emptiness.
The New Art Gallery at Walsall is showing There is a Place…until April 14, and it’s a place well worth visiting.
Coventry-born George Shaw contributes both Humbrol-painted paintings, and more unusually, etchings, of Tile Hill. There’s a huge pile of rubble behind a fence, showing the end of a pub where his mother apparently once worked, and another empty space, and in The End of Time, a path leading to where a pub building once stood.
The 12 short walks are etchings of scenes from around the area, showing scenes that are becoming familiar if you’ve seen more of his paintings and watercolours – garages, bleak paths, but green tree-filled areas too, and poignantly fence posts with no fence in between. They’re small, detailed and show his versatility.

Also exhibiting is Graham Chorlton, who lives in Birmingham but teaches Fine Art at Coventry University. Graham uses washes of acrylic paint and mainly depicts buildings standing in isolation, from the Birmingham area, or from his travels around the world – and also from found postcards.
Graham was at the exhibition opening, and said curator Helen Jones had visited his studio a couple of times to get an idea of what might link well with what, and he agreed the works in the show were “very sympathetic to each other”.
He said his works were about: “Generic things we all know and places we pass through and how we experience life through a car window.”
He works sometimes from his own photographs, or from old photos and postcards, especially liking the old black and white 1950s ones which have been inked over with colour. As an addition to this exhibition, there’s a display of his postcards on a lower floor.
Most of the works show buildings adrift from their surroundings so you focus in on them, admiring or disliking their design, and wondering about the history and what stories those walls could tell.
Other works that stand out are those by Laura Oldfield Ford with large drawings in ball-point pen and acrylic on paper showing London houses and graffitied walls, and newly-commissioned works of scenes under the flyovers around Walsall.
It’s an exhibition worth seeing for the variety of works on show, that gel well together.


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