Home is Unspent - George Shaw & Thomas Bewick

Cherryburn 15 July - 28 October 2022
Station Bank

Mickley Square
NE43 7DD

Open every Thursday and Friday 10.00 - 16.00

George Shaw and Thomas Bewick. Organised in collaboration with Ikon, Birmingham.

As a long-time admirer of Thomas Bewick, and having been inspired by his works, George Shaw recalls first visiting Cherryburn and the connection he felt with his own experience of home: “Visiting Cherryburn for the first time reminded me of the last time I saw my own family home; silent, emptied out and as Philip Larkin writes in his poem ‘Home is So Sad', shaped to the comfort of the last to go as if to win them back. Our homes call to us across distances measured in miles and years. All houses are haunted I suppose, and we all end up as ghosts of one kind or another."

'Home is Unspent' includes new, intimate paintings of Shaw’s childhood home following the death of his mother, capturing the spaces that remain and the shapes we leave behind. The works respond directly to the intimacy of Thomas Bewick’s Birthplace. The Birthplace will also see the creation of a bird outline on the flagstones, with Shaw drawing on the hearth just as Bewick did. Themes of loss, isolation and the natural world are explored in a series of watercolours 'A History of Dead British Birds', created during lockdown at the artist’s Dartmoor home, exhibited in the Museum here at Cherryburn, alongside a self-portrait 'Plein Air'. The museum will also display Shaw’s paintings 'Graves I - IV' 2003-2004, of children’s gravestones, a haunting reminder of the artist’s childhood walks with his family. They speak too to Bewick’s Tale-pieces in which he shows a group of children in party hats riding gravestones with great pleasure. 

George Shaw & Jonathan Watkins will be in conversation at The Baltic on Wednesday 13 July 18.00 - 19.30. 
July 15, 2022