contemporary art, painting

Turner Prize 2011 @ BALTIC

December 6, 2011

They say no one likes a sore loser. And I’ve no doubt in person that after the winner was announced in last night’s Turner Prize, George Shaw was gracious in defeat.

But shortly after Martin Boyce stepped up to claim the £20,000 award, it appeared to be paintings by Shaw which commented most directly on the evening.

You don’t even need to see these works to get the picture. Titles included ‘The Age of Bullshit’, ‘Same Old Crap’ and ‘Landscape with Dogshit Bin’.

BALTIC was heaving with metropolitan types. And it all at once seemed, no way could art’s most glittering accolade have gone to Shaw’s vision of dead end suburbia.

But the Coventry painter offered something so different, one gets the feeling this year’s Turner was his to lose. Perhaps ‘humankind cannot’bear very much reality’, as Eliot might have said of the panel.

Shaw’s exhibition was the last you came to after waltzing round the angular sculpture of Boyce, the heavy duty film rigs of Lloyd and the exploded soap factory of Black.

His dozen or so paintings brought you back down to earth here. There were gray skies and graffiti many would recognise as humble origins not a million miles from their own.

Too humble, perhaps, for a prize with international renown. So with those disgruntled titles, Shaw remains an outsider, his vision all the more powerful for not having won.

The 2011 Turner Prize was held at Baltic, Gateshead on Monday 5 December. Thanks to sponsors Nokia for an invite.

1 Comment

  • Reply Sue Sheerin December 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I know this doesn’t count, my being closely related ( – don’t mention the ‘M’ word – ) and all that, but I very much appreciated your pieces on the Kaisergruft – took me back! – and on the Turner. Great! Well done.

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