Artist's Talk: Tim Shaw

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Wednesday 20 November, 1pm

Artist Talk: Tim Shaw, A Life in Sculpture

Join artist Tim Shaw RA for an illustrated talk reflecting on his career to date and his 25-year spanning solo exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art from the beginning of this year.



Tim Shaw was born the son of a linen merchant and educated at schools in Belfast, Dublin and Enniskillen. He began modeling with clay at school, and decided to become a sculptor at the age of 15 after discovering a book on Rodin in a local bookshop.

He studied art at Manchester Polytechnic and Falmouth School of Art – graduating with First Class Honors in Fine Art, in 1989. After a spell working in Bristol as a restorer of buildings and sculpture, he devoted himself to sculpture full time. He then returned to Cornwall and recommenced work on Middle World, a monumental sculpture he had begun as a student, which was to become an obsessive project over the next five years.

Shaw has executed a number of major commissions, including The Rites of Dionysus for the Eden Project, Cornwall, The Minotaur for the Royal Opera House, London, The Green Man for Antony House near Plymouth and The Drummer which stands in Lemon Quay, Truro.

Shaw was elected to The Royal Academy of Arts in 2013. He also won the prestigious Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture at The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition in 2015, the Mullan Prize at the Royal Ulster Academy, and a Kenneth Armitage Fellowship, which allowed him to spend two and a half years living and working in the late sculptor’s London studio: “The place possessed something which drove me to work and live to the very last drop of energy.”

He has undertaken international residencies in Greece, Spain and Ireland, and in 2015 was awarded the George Schimmel Fellowship at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities of Law as Culture in Bonn, Gemany.

A more political side to his work is evident in a number of sculptures responding to issues such as terrorism and the war in Iraq such as Tank on Fire which was awarded the selectors’ choice Threadneedle prize in 2008, and the deeply affecting installation Casting a Dark Democracy, which the Financial Times described as “The most politically charged yet poetically resonant new work on show in London”.

Shaw has exhibited in the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition annually since 2013 and most recently with the Royal West of England Academy in Fire: Flashes To Ashes In British Art 1962 – 2019. Shaw presented a two-part solo exhibition entitled What Remains at The Exchange, a contemporary art space in Penzance and Something Is Not Quite Right at Anima Mundi, St. Ives, Cornwall.

His most major international solo exhibition to date is Beyond Reason, hosted at San Diego Museum Of Art. Beyond Reason included six immersive large-scale installations, exploring themes of global terrorism, freedom of speech, abuse of power and artificial intelligence. The exhibition was extremely well received by the public and by the press and was listed by Artnet News as one of the top museum exhibitions worth traveling for in the US.

Currently, Shaw lives on a farm near Falmouth, where he first lived as a student and where he has had his home and studios for 25 years. Middle World still stands and continues to evolve in the barn where he began work on it a quarter of a century ago.

How to book a place: This Visual Artists Ireland (VAI) lecture can be booked through their website here Fee:  €5 or free for VAI members.