Tim Shaw

Contemporary visual artist and sculptor, Tim Shaw was born in Belfast in 1964, educated in Belfast, Dublin and Enniskillen. Shaw studied art at Manchester Polytechnic and Falmouth School of Art, and after a brief period working as a conservator of buildings and sculpture, decided to devote himself fully to creating sculpture. Shaw lives on a farm in Cornwall, UK where he has had his home and studios for over 30 years. 

 An incisive, political side to his work is evident in a number of his sculptures responding to issues such as terrorism and the war in Iraq, an example being Tank on Fire,  which was awarded the Selectors’ Choice Threadneedle prize in 2008, and the deeply affecting installation  Casting a Dark Democracy described by the Financial Times as ‘The most politically charged yet poetically resonant new work on show in London… Empathetic yet implicating us all, Casting A Dark Democracy is one of too few works to engage unequivocally with the reality and human cost of the Iraq war’.  
He won the prestigious Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts London Summer Exhibition in 2015, the Mullan Prize at the Royal Ulster Academy, and a Kenneth Armitage Foundation Fellowship which allowed him to spend two and a half years residing 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 was also awarded international residencies in Greece, Spain and Ireland. 
Shaw has executed a number of major commissions, including The Minotaur for the Royal Opera House, London; The Rites of Dionysus for the Eden Project, Cornwall; The Green Man  for Antony House, Plymouth; and The Drummer for the central square of Truro, Cornwall. 

In 2013 he was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and he exhibits in the Summer Exhibition  annually. 

In 2015 he won the distinguished George Schimmel Fellowship at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities ‘Law as Culture’ in Bonn and commenced work on The Birth of Breakdown Clown, a major, interactive project, integrating sculpture, artificial intelligence and robotics. 

The San Diego Museum of Art mounted his most significant international solo exhibition to date Beyond Reason (October 2018 to February 2019), a retrospective of his work which included six of his immersive, large-scale installations, exploring themes of global terrorism, freedom of speech, abuse of power and the future of AI. The exhibition opened to critical acclaim and was highlighted by Artnet as one of the foremost ‘museum shows around the US worth travelling for’.

Currently, Shaw is bronze-casting his monumental work Man on Fire for permanent installation at the entrance of the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. The project is made possible by a generous award from the Frampton Trust, Royal Academy of Arts and Arts Council England.

As Shaw states, ‘My work, which is essentially figurative, delves into the nature of the human psyche and has elements that are political, metaphysical and mythological. Themes of ritual and conflict reoccur. There is an attempt to understand the nature of who we are through a process of reduction: stripping back the human condition to its primordial bare bones’.

Website: Tim Shaw (timshawsculptor.com)