Norman Shaw is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, educator, curator, dj and musician.
Shaw’s artistic output thrives on a persistent creative resistance to rationalist-materialist consensus paradigms and modes of access to the world. It is increasingly evident that these praxes of separateness and duality, especially between ourselves and ‘nature’, have resulted in our current ecological and ontological crises.
A deep ecological awareness underlies Shaw’s practice. His artworks are visual representations of the liminal zone where ecological awareness overlaps with mythic consciousness. Experience of wild woods, mountains and wildernesses become portals into the unbroken totality from which our reality is born. Shaw also draws heavily on the indigenous mythologies of his native Highlands. His mythic consciousness peers through the veil of separateness to find archetypal symbols that reveal the essential unity of experience.
Shaw’s writing ranges from art-historical studies and theoretical and philosophical discourse to speculative fiction and hybrid works of theory-fiction.
Solo excursions into remote Highland wilderness; mountain gloom; mountain ecstasy; the limits of perception; nonduality; fractal geomancy; mystical anarchy; hauntology; speculative realism; geoshamanism; rhizomatic cartography; sonorous topography; pataphysical science; the inhuman; liminalism; transcendental psychographies; crepuscular metarchaeology; dark green ecology; apocalyptic iconographies; strangeness; the numinous; the uncanny, the post-sublime; the impingement of the cosmic, lawless, and mystical upon the prosaic sphere of the known; disillusionism; dissolutionism; philosophies of horror; delusions; deliriums; non-phenomena; transsensory frequencies; subharmonics; sonic heresies; nocturnal thickets; dim forests; gothic melancholy; demontology; cosmic horror; transmortal consciousness; metaGaelic otherworlds; Celtic twilights; northern post-romanticism, bardic dadaism, hyperborealism; sacred geometry; secret geology; nomadic amnesia; dusk jockeying; the unpresentable, are some of Shaw's preoccupations.
Grew up in the Scottish Highlands. Currently lives in Glenlyon, Highland Perthshire.
PhD in Fine Art, University of Dundee (1998-2004)
MFA in Painting, Edinburgh College of Art (1994-1996).
MPhil in Art History, Edinburgh College of Art (1993-1994)
MA (1st class hons) in Fine Art, University of Edinburgh (1988-1993)
Taught History of Art at the University of Edinburgh 1995-98 and 2004-05; Humanities at Edinburgh College of Art 1996 – 1998. Lecturer at the University of Dundee: Fine Art Studio Practice; History & Theory; Art, Philosophy & Contemporary Practices; Contextual & Critical Studies; Art & Humanities; Art, Society and Publics, 1998-present.
Lecturer in Fine Art at Moray School of Art, University of the Highlands & Islands, 2017-present.
Exhibits widely in group and solo exhibitions, both nationally and internationally. Outputs include drawing and painting, printmaking, writing, sound, DJing, music production, video, installation, performance, curation.
Publishes extensively in books and journals.
Exhibitions include: Hermit House (Summerhall, Edinburgh, 2018), Shelter Stone: The Artist & the Mountain (Royal Scottish Academy, 2017), Between Places (Moray School of Art, 2015), Between the Late and the Early (Royal Scottish Academy, 2013), Cheer Up! It’s not the end of the world (curated, Edinburgh Printmakers, 2012), Resident 11 (Royal Scottish Academy, 2011), Window to the West (City Art Centre, 2010), Prints of Darkness (curated, Edinburgh Printmakers, 2010 (toured internationally)), Heavy Metal Mouth (Torpichen St Gallery, Edinburgh, 2009), Highland (Royal Scottish Academy, 2007), No More Stars (Edinburgh College of Art, 2007), Infernal Methods (solo – Generator Projects, Dundee, 2006), The Great Book of Gaelic (An Lanntair, Stornoway, 2002 (toured internationally)), Calanais (An Lanntair,1996 (toured internationally)).
Selected Research Projects:
Cheer Up! It’s not the end of the world…
Exhibition and publication, co-curated with Sarah-Manning Shaw, Edinburgh Printmakers, August – September 2012.
Presenting the work of selected international artists who explore ideas about the end of the world, apocalypse, finality, the death of thought, or related eschatological concerns.
Prints and other media by Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gordon Cheung, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Ricky Allman, Martin Barrett, Etienne Clement, David Faithfull, Konstantin Kalinovich, Kris Kuksi, Lori Nix
Hard backed limited edition catalogue published by Edinburgh Printmakers with commissioned essays by Norman Shaw and Kevin Whitesides. ISBN 978-0-9541530-4-5.
Prints of Darkness
New commissions, exhibition, publication and tour. Funded by Scottish Arts Council and the Carnegie Trust, co-curated with Sarah-Manning Cordwell (Edinburgh Printmakers) and Edward Summerton (University of Dundee) for Edinburgh Printmakers.
Edinburgh Printmakers, 17 July – 04 September 2010;Matthew GalleryUniversity of Dundee, 13 November - 11 December 2010; The Changing Room, Stirling, 12 May - 25 June 2011; Engramme, Quebec, Canada, 28 October – 11 December 2011; RhylLibrary Arts Centre, North Wales, 21 January - 25 February 2012; Pallant House Gallery; West Sussex, England, 21 August - 21 October 2012.
An investigation of the impact of record cover art on visual artists. Twelve artists were commissioned to produce one print in record-cover format as a response to the research theme. Artists: Andrew Cranston, Tommy Crooks, Malcy Duff, Duncan Marquiss, Lee O'Connor, Chris Orr, Norman Shaw, Edward Summerton, The Lonely Piper, Andy Wake, Mark Wallace, with Vicky Bennett, AKA People Like Us. Project included a related events programme including Instruments of Darkness - a night of iconoclastic music and performance programmed by the curators and featuring artists and their associates from the exhibition.
Included commissioned t-shirts and badges from each artist, a limited edition 12" picture vinyl record, housed in a boxed-set with fold-out poster and commissioned texts and artwork by Norman Shaw and text by Vicki Bennett. ISBN 978-0-9541530-2-1.
Artist Book (338 pages), published by Nemeton, 2010.An exploration of relationships between place, consciousness, and epistemologies, through a collaborative tour of selected sites around the Highlands of Scotland, resulting in interrogation of marginal and esoteric aspects of the contemporary Highland landscape. Essays and images by Norman Shaw, plus commissioned texts by Murdo Macdonald, The Lonely Piper, and Tommy Crooks, and images by Edward Summerton, Murdo Macdonald, Lee O’Connor and Tommy Crooks.
Produced for ‘Window to the West’ five-year research project, funded by AHRC and led by Prof Murdo Macdonald. ISBN 978-0-9568242-0-2
The book complemented the ‘Nemeton’ exhibition curated by Norman Shaw as part of the Window to the West exhibition ‘The Rediscovery of Highland Art’, curated by Arthur Watson and Murdo Macdonald (Nov 2010 to March 2011, City Art Centre, Edinburgh). The ‘Nemeton’ exhibition contained works by all of the artists involved in the ‘Nemeton’ project, including a video installation and drawings by Norman Shaw.
A Skye Hauntography
Exhibition of drawings exploring visual aspects of the hauntological landscapes of the Isle Skye.
An investigation of cleared village hauntings, and of relationships between folk etymologies of the Isle of Skye and the mythic landscapes of Ossian and HP Lovecraft.
Part of the ‘Resident 11’ exhibition (Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, October 2011). This work was produced ona Royal Scottish Academy Artists Research Residency at SabhalMòrOstaig Gaelic College on the Isle of Skye, funded by Scottish Arts Council, May - December 2010.