Combing historic texts, artworks, comic books, and his dreams, American artist Jim Shaw’s flood of imagery is an essential tool in conveying his imagined histories and fables. Rivers, houses, and hair are but a few motifs repeated throughout this exhibition. Seemingly disparate, they mnemonically serve each other in depicting over-arching themes of fallen heroes, collapsed economies, concepts of sin, and general doomsday destruction.
Playing central roles throughout the exhibition are two operas: Wagner’s The Ring of the Niebelung and Brecht / Weill’s,The Seven Deadly Sins. Each depicts the lust for earthly objects as the ultimate downfall of man.
Jim Shaw: Mississippi River Mural, 2013
Acrylic on muslin with aqua resin, foam, acrylic and metal rod
Mural: approximately 230 x 480 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Shaw’s concern with the sin of man is cast in a broad range of spiritual fanaticisms. References to Evangelicalism, Blakean mysticism, as well as his own fabricated pseudo-religion, Oism, shift the conversation from one of high art to populist agendas. In this vein, Shaw has created a banner similar in style to Evangelical tent revival murals, which crosses Biblical, Eschatalogical, and Oist histories.
Jim Shaw (born 1952 in Midland, Michigan) lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and his master of fine arts at California Institute of the Arts.
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