Saturday, October 20, 2018

Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason at San Diego Museum of Art

by Patricia Frischer

Tim Shaw was born in Belfast in 1964 and lives in Cornwall. His work is all about storytelling but in the context of the Irish troubles.   He is a master metal caster but his work combines all sorts of media and mediums. This makes the work often look contradictory...a mix between past and present. Sometimes it is a view of nightmares, sometimes of a future of primal ritual. So you have politics and mythology and that is the essence of Irish life! 

The  story that he told at the opening night reception was of a young boy, brought to San Diego because of a romantic excursion by his mother. There he experienced the SDMA at the beginning of his life's journey.  He was astounded and gratified to have his first US museum exhibition here and the Museum has done him proud. The space is totally converted, dark and mysterious lighting and an emptiness that is hollow and moody. 

There are sculptures with moving bits, speaking parts, interactive situations and I started to feel at one point like I was in a Halloween haunted house. Some viewers I spoke to felt the work was torturous and depressing. But I found it a healthy change from slick pretty art that is shiny and glittering. This show is not balanced, but it can help you to find a balance in your life and know that you are not alone being affected by the frightening times we live in. 

Middle World 
No, not a chair, but a huge structure which is still evolving. 



The Birth of the Breakdown Clown
Click this link to hear a sample of the the clown speech. I heard him sing a soulful 'bring in the crowns" and ask for some "satisfaction."

Soul Snatcher
A trick of light and my camera picked up a blue flickering light that was not seen except through the lens. 

Something is not quite right.
These two figures rocks back and forth and murmured. The mouths of the figures are stuffed with cash and gagged with stocking. The work shed’s light on how compliance can be bought; proposing that silence often has a price

I found this the most interesting of the figures and most disturbing. It is a women, tarred and feathered and tied to a lamp post which is a real thing done during the troubles in Northern Ireland especially in the 1970s, not just to women but to any one perceived to be a traitor who was deemed deserving of humiliation.   The figure in the background just happened to be there when I took this photo. I have a similar images in many of my own works...the shadow man....who I have come to see sometimes as ominous, but sometimes as a protector. That shadow man in combination with the mysterious blue light made me feel a spiritual connection to this work.   All art is subjective, but I found great skill and solace in these works. 

This is a not to be missed show. We have seen few contemporary exhibitions at the SDMA so take advantage of this opportunity to see work of quality in a gendre that is so important right now. 

The San Diego Museum of Art’s exhibition, Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason, opens Saturday, October 20. This is the Museum’s big fall exhibition and it’s unlike any other contemporary show the Museum has done before. Tim Shaw creates psychologically charged environments that address topics such as global terrorism, freedom of speech and artificial intelligence in six immersive installations. A celebrated Northern Irish sculptor, Tim Shaw is known for his large-scale, multi-sensory activations, and this will be the first time his work has been on view in the U.S
While in Balboa Park why not stop in and see Irving Penn at the Museum of Photographic.  Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty and Reverberate at Museum of Photographic Art Picked Ripe by Patricia Frischer

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