'I Loved You, Narcissus'
A Solo Exhibition by Jamie Shaw
7th - 14th September
Opening Reception 7th September 6.30 - 9.00pm
''For the most part, my practice is concerned with figurative painting; that’s what I want to focus on with this show. There’s this figure that populates almost all of my paintings. He doesn’t have a name but he exists, eternally, in a space in my mind: ageless and graceful. It’s like… a mirage of beauty, a mythology I’m constantly chasing: but in the paintings he’s always alone. The spaces – the environments – are undoubtedly pretty and euphoric but there’s often this deep melancholy that comes out of the solitude. Like a yearning for lost love. These are fleeting, ephemeral moments of poetry and pain. I’ve called the show “I Loved You, Narcissus” because I’m becoming really interested in what this concept of narcissism means to us in 2018 – not pathological narcissism, but the general vanity of things. I’ve always thought there was this tragic beauty in the image of narcissus by the lake, eternally locked in gaze with his own reflection… somehow, the Instagram selfie doesn’t quite match up. If it’s narcissistic to create pictures - to be obsessed with creating pictures - that represent who you are or how you feel, then I suppose this exhibition is the brainchild of my love affair with narcissism. There’s a religiosity to these things for me, and I think it’s really exciting to show so many of the paintings in the context of an old church. I just hope people enjoy it!”
Jamie Shaw (b. 1992) is a painter and visual artist based in London. With “I Loved You, Narcissus”, the Islington Arts Factory presents Shaw’s first solo exhibition in the capital. The show is curated by the artist and takes a retrospective format, aiming to provide a cohesive snapshot of a unique and determined practice as it has developed over the last four years.
Shaw treats his art practice as a realm of personal expression related to contemporary lived experience, believing that the personal is political. He works with intention to create intimate, sentimental musings concerned with expressing desire, longing, and failures in dreaming. His paintings and texts examine the discrepancies between sexuality and innocence, and examine the interstices between consumption and desire; marginality and complicity; kitsch and sublime. He counts life, difference, and innocence amongst his main inspirations. Shaw aims to create poetic encounters of a vision informed both by the minority queer experience (specifically focusing on the ‘sissy boy’ as combatting constructs of ‘toxic masculinity’) and myths of the artist as ‘outsider’ which emerged with Romance. The work expresses personal struggles in desire and constitutes a failed quest for ‘pink utopia’. Shaw works incessantly to create his own mythology, and his deities live on a pink cloud.
In De Certau’s “practice of everyday life” it was first suggested that the power of the individual consumer lie in his tactics of consumption: the way in which a consumer chooses to navigate immovable frameworks of power, coercion and imposed standards of desire by his selection, manipulation and personal revaluation of media and spectacle to suit his own needs. In a contemporary context, Shaw’s practice takes this a step further. To compose his paintings, he appropriates aesthetic, narrative and thematic devices from wide-ranging sources: from Disney movies to fashion magazines, from pop music lyrics to fine-art paintings. He takes these sources, dismantles and manipulates them, queers and recasts them as part of his own individual and unwavering narrative of expression – which in turn can be consumed, within the context of fine-art, as spectacle, providing emotive moments of self-reflection, escapism and quiet in an otherwise frenetic and difficult world.
All works in this exhibition are for sale. Prices on request.
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Islington Arts Factory Exhibition Archive