Wednesday 13 December 2017

Still life by Neil Shawcross

Acrylic on paper on board

courtesy of Jorgensen Fine Art

Red and green are Christmas colours. Holly, with its dark green leaves and its bright red berries, sports both colours and captures the season wonderfully, and Neil Shawcross has in this Still Life created a rich and warm image of what we associate with this time of year: food and drink and being indoors and being together.

Breaking bread -- sharing a meal with family and friends -- can be one of the most memorable and special things about this time of year.

A bowl of fruit, two goblets, a wine bottle on a red table against a rich red background create an invitation to eat and drink and enjoy togetherness. The black outline and shading give the work a solid feel, the loose brushstrokes are impressionistic and the placing and arrangement of the objects add perspective and elegance. Join in. Sit and eat; sit and drink.

As a final-year art student, Neil Shawcross was asked to stand in for a teacher on leave and it was then that Shawcross realised that children, when they painted, brought an ease and freedom and joy to the activity.

In his own work, Shawcross himself has tried to capture that ever since and in the simple, celebratory quality of this painting he's achieved it.

Born in Lancashire in 1940, Shawcross taught at the Belfast College of Art and his own award-winning work has featured everyday objects such as telephones, typewriters, chairs and portraits -- there's a marvellous one of Francis Stuart with a rabbit and cat. "Painting for me is an emotional activity. I feel no need to explain my work. The paintings speak for themselves."

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice; "The Stretch in the Evening" is already on its way. Meanwhile, we want to cosy up indoors. This warm, rich, vibrant work is on show until December 24.

There are only two more frenzied shopping days to Christmas.

Now, what are you waiting for? Go see. If someone were to be given this Neil Shawcross Still Life, it would create a warm glow this Christmas and for many, many Christmases to come.

Jorgensen Fine Art, The Hibernian Way, Dublin 2 Phone (01) 7645734

Irish Independent

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