Professor Phil Shaw is a ground-breaking British digital-printmaker, who creates hyper-real images of great formal elegance and conceptual richness. His distinctive ‘bookshelf’ prints interrogate the changing place of the printed word in a digital age, and the transfer of meaning through inter-textuality. Depicting books arranged on shelves, their titles merge and melt, forming unexpected connections and new dynamics. These are images to explore and intrigue; they are clever, funny, unsettling, and beautiful.
Awarded his Doctorate in ink technology, Shaw uses a specialized eight-colour printing process on fine-grade Hahnemuhle paper. He was the former Professor of Printmaking at the University of Middlesex, where he taught from 1980.
Shaw's work stems from what he describes as:
'Questions relating to what we believe, what we think we believe and what we are told to believe. Probably as a result of a strict fundamentalist upbringing, I have always been troubled by the possibility that things may not be what they appear to be and certainly not what they are said to be. As a result, I see most beliefs (even scientific ones) as a form of dogma. And I enjoy poking fun at dogma - wherever it lurks. The book titles are all absolutely genuine (with the exception of the Fiction and Friction series). I wouldn't have done the prints otherwise. They all appear in the British Library Catalogue.'
In 2004, one of these works was chosen as ‘Print of the Year’ by the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. Shaw regularly exhibits at the Royal Academy and his work is included in the UK Government Art Collection and the Vulcan Collection.
Shaw was also commissioned by David Cameron to create the thought-provoking print that was presented to world leaders at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland in 2013, which now forms part of the National Art Collection. He was featured on the front of The Times’ Arts pages, as the ‘critics’ pick’ during London Art Week, and his Big Fiction was the cover image of the South China Morning Post during Art Basel Hong Kong 2015, following his exhibition at Art Central Hong Kong.