Tim Shaw by Nik Strangelove.
Black Smoke Rising, a major solo exhibition from fine art alumnus and Fellow Tim Shaw RA, is now open at the mac in Birmingham.
Running from Saturday 12 April until Sunday 8 June, the exhibition features a reworking of his powerful sculpture Casting a Dark Democracy. Standing 17-feet high in steel, barbed wire and black polythene, the piece dominates mac's first floor gallery.
Shaw, who was recently elected a Royal Academician, opens the exhibition on the tenth anniversary since the image of an Abu Ghraib tortured prisoner was released via the press. One of three large scale installations on show, the exhibition is the first time Casting a Dark Democracy has appeared in a public gallery.
Since graduating from Falmouth, Shaw's enjoyed multiple solo shows, public commissions, residencies and fellowships. Dubbed "a sculptor that can trounce the lot of them" by art critic Brian Sewell, his accolades include the Kenneth Armitage Fellowship and the selector's choice Threadneedle Prize.
Reflecting on his work, Shaw says: "It delves into the nature of the human psyche. There is an attempt to understand the nature of who we are through a process of reduction, a stripping down of the human condition to its primordial bare bones."
He continues, "The need to shape and form material into something that expresses meaning and emotion is an instinctive one that fundamentally underpins my art practice. It is an activity that connects contemporary life with prehistoric existence. It mirrors the ideas and beliefs of humanity over thousands of years. This is something that I find profoundly moving and important."
Shaw was made a fellow of Falmouth in 2013 and offered students exclusive insight into his work during the Falmouth School of Art Lecturers in February 2014. On studying at Falmouth, Shaw says, "As students we were massively spoiled; tutors, facilities and resources were in abundance. I set out as a 15 year-old with a dream and because of experiences like Falmouth I have been able to make it happen."
Black Smoke Rising
Location: mac, Birmingham
Dates: 12 April – 8 June 2014
18 April: 'Work informed by photography: Exploring the Tim Shaw exhibition' with Indra Khanna, free
13 May: Illustrated talk by Tim Shaw RA, tickets £3
1 June: Exhibition tour with curator Indra Khanna, free