New Orleans born painter brings ‘50-Year’ Showcase exhibition to Cambridge

Published: 15 September 2006 at 13:28

The Ruskin Gallery at Anglia Ruskin University will stage its first major international show this September – opening from 13 September to 3 October 2007. The exhibition will take a retrospective look at the 50 year career of New York based, New Orleans born painter Kendall Shaw. It will be visiting Cambridge from its originating venue, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, in Shaw's home city.

Shaw trained as an artist, initially in New Orleans, where he was taught by the legendary painter Mark Rothko. Shaw then followed Rothko back to New York, where he has worked since.

Apart from a visit in 1966, when he was a United Nations delegated visiting artist, this is Kendall Shaw's first exhibition in England. The artist and raconteur, now in his 80s, will be giving what promises to be a memorable talk at a special private view of his show at the Ruskin Gallery on the evening of Wednesday 26 September.

Commenting on the exhibition, Professor Tony Harrild, Head of the Cambridge School of Art said:

“Ken Shaw is a highly significant artist for us, not least because his work in the 60s and 70s was profoundly influential for the early career of Bruce Russell, currently our Professor of Fine Art.  For those who don’t know his work, Shaw is a major figure in the Pattern and Decoration school of artists whose work dominated galleries and museums on both sides of the Atlantic from the mid-1970s.”

“We are thrilled to be opening our new programme of Ruskin Gallery exhibitions with such an important international artist.  This will be his most important European show to date.”

During his unique career, Shaw has been friend and colleague to a host of famous artists such as Pollock, de Kooning, Warhol and Basquiat, while being represented and collected by prestigious galleries and museums. His practice spans the epic period of American dominance of the avant-garde art world.

Shaw and his colleagues' work was reproduced at that time in Artscribe, a pioneering fine art magazine written by emerging young artists in Britain, and immediately became an inspiration for a generation of UK-based painters.

The exhibition, "Let There Be Light”, will feature paintings which have been borrowed from important collections around the world.

Shaw trained initially as a chemist, then migrated to physics, where his ability was recognised at government level at the beginning of WW2; he was invited to join the Manhatten project to develop the A-bomb, but declined on moral grounds. Instead he saw active service in the US Navy, flying missions across the Atlantic. At the end of the war, Shaw had a major change of intellectual and spiritual focus in his life, and decided to train as an artist.

Kendall Shaw

Exhibition details

Open 13 September-3 October 2007
Open to the general public 10am-4pm, Monday-Friday
Exhibition open to the general public on Saturday 29 September, 10am-3pm

Private view on Wednesday 26 September, 6pm