Contemporary Art

Shaun McDowell

United Kingdom 1981

Abstract Expressionism

Shaun McDowell
Shaun McDowell
United Kingdom
November 22, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

The British artist, Shaun McDowell, has worked to create distinct series of paintings using different materials and applications in each body – acrylic paint applied by hand, oil stick drawn and smudged, oil paint applied wet on dry to build up layers of clear independent marks that form a whole.  With inspiration from a nude model, McDowell has developed a language of abstract synesthetic expression.

After graduating in 2005 from a BA Fine Art (New Media) course at Chelsea College of Art and Design, McDowell focused on working with artists in Peckham, London, and at the Peckham squat 78 Lyndhurst Way. McDowell met Hannah Barry at Chelsea Space gallery in 2006 and became friends, often meeting at Lyndhurst Way to discuss plans and ambitions with artists such as James Balmforth, Oliver Griffin, Christopher Green and Bobby Dowler who managed the squat, its residents and also invited individuals for periods of stay. Lyndhurst Way was to become an artist lead gallery and was the nucleus from which Hannah Barry Gallery emerged in January 2008. Lyndhurst Way exhibitions began with ’10 Rooms and a Sculpture Garden November 2006 and closed with ‘Bold Tendencies’ ending October 2007.

In 2008 McDowell produced a series of works for his first solo show – Confessions and Love pictures, shown at Hannah Barry Gallery, Peckham. In this series, McDowell created abstract paintings inspired by the sittings of a nude model and lover. On 9 boards, acrylic paint was drawn and smudged using hands and fingers.

In another series of “life” inspired works, McDowell used oil stick on board and travelled through Switzerland and Italy to make works in the landscape with his model. Viewing Nicolas Poussin’s “Sleeping Venus and Cupid” in the exhibition “Poussin and Nature” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, was the initial impetus for McDowell wanting to make works in such landscape.

Viewing Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s “The Souvenir” at the Wallace Collection, London, and small works by artists such as Pieter Brueghel the Elder/Younger, Théodore Géricault and Joachim Wtewael at TEFAF, Maastricht, McDowell was inspired to embark on a series of smaller works for a solo show at the Hannah Barry Bond St space –. The Souvenir, 2012.

Shaun McDowell has established himself through his energetic model inspired works and also for works made alone which exhibit a process free and intuitive in its laying down of marks and complex and calculated in its building up of layers. In a Financial Times review of his solo show “The Souvenir” (2012), McDowell was handed an accolade – “most exciting abstract painter of his generation”.

Shaun McDowell lives and works in London.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014Shaun Mcdowell, Moons Masks Birds DemonsHannah Barry Gallery, LondonSolo
2014Degree of DarknessRook & Raven, LondonGroup
2014Save yourselfHannah Barry Gallery, Peckham, LondonGroup
2014EN-TRÉEMIDDLEMARCH, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2013PECKHAMNEWYORKPARISShoot The Lobster/Martos Gallery, New YorkGroup
2013Paint As You Like And Die Happy!Fokidos, AthenGroup
2013PECKHAMNEWYORKPARISGalerie 104 Kleber, ParisGroup
2013PECKHAMNEWYORKPARIS88 Friary Road, Peckham, LondonGroup
2012Shaun McDowell - The SouvenirHannah Barry Gallery, LondonSolo
2011Shaun Mcdowell - New PaintingsHannah Barry Gallery, LondonSolo
2011Nothing FixedMarcelle Josephs Projects, LondonGroup
2011The Tangled GroveBrickhouse at Nutbrook Studios, Peckham, LondonSolo
2010The Discerning EyeThe Mall Galleries, LondonGroup
2009Visible Invisible: Against the Security of the RealParasol unit, LondonGroup
2009To Paint Is To Love AgainHannah Barry Gallery, LondonGroup
200953rd Venice BiennaleThe Peckham Pavilion, VeniceGroup
2008Shaun McDowell - Confessions And Love PicturesHannah Barry Gallery, LondonSolo
2008Optimism: The Art Of Our TimeHannah Barry Gallery, LondonGroup
2008Optimism: The Art of Our TimeHannah Barry Gallery, LondonGroup
2008Bold Tendencies 2Peckham, LondonGroup
2007Monumental Painting, Sculpture & Film78 Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, LondonGroup
2007Building and Breaking78 Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, LondonGroup
2007Drawing in Pencil78 Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, LondonGroup
2007Experiments with Figuration78 Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, LondonGroup
2007Landscape, Film and Photography78 Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, LondonGroup
2007Small Paintings and Sculpture78 Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, LondonGroup
2006Rehearsing/Samuel Beckett - Chelsea spaceChelsea College of Art and Design, LondonGroup
200610 Rooms and a Sculpture Garden78 Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, LondonGroup
2006The Gateless Gate78 Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, LondonGroup
2006TurtleChelsea Space, LondonGroup
2006Spontaneous AcademyArchitects Association, LondonGroup
2006Rehearsing/Samuel BeckettChelsea Space, LondonGroup