Shaw painting heads to Coventry

  • 1 November 2011

A painting of Coventry's Tile Hill suburb by Turner Prize nominee George Shaw has been bought for the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum...

George Shaw, Scenes from the Passion: Wednesday Week, 2003 © George Shaw

A painting of the Coventry suburb of Tile Hill by Turner Prize nominee George Shaw has been purchased by the city's Herbert Art Gallery & Museum with help from the Art Fund. Scenes from the Passion: Wednesday Week is a classic example of Shaw's approach to contemporary art, depicting an ordinary scene from the estate on which he grew up.

The work

Scenes from the Passion: Wednesday Week depicts a walled area on a residential estate. The walls surrounding the enclosed space lend the image a claustrophobic edge, while the unknown space beyond the door creates the tension of uncertainty. The piece's title, like the Humbrol paint used to create it, is drawn from teenage life: the lyrics of a song by The Undertones.

Shaw writes, 'This painting shows the way around to the library. It was always a mystery to me that the entrance seemed to be at the back of the building through this little aperture. All sorts of things went on in these buildings, jumble sales, Christmas fetes, youth clubs, but I never went to anything other than the library.'

The artist

George Shaw's career has focused intensely on a single theme: the Tile Hill estate where he grew up. For 15 years Shaw has depicted scenes from the same small area, in a life project which he has come to see as a single painting on many canvases. He has been shortlisted for the 2011 Turner Prize.

Martin Roberts, Senior Curator at the Herbert, said, 'We've been looking to acquire a piece of Shaw's work for some time now. The gallery not only represents art and history, but also Coventry and its people. Scenes from the Passion: Wednesday Week brings both of these aims together'.