Dr Phil Shaw is a ground-breaking British digital-printmaker, who creates hyper-real images of great formal elegance and conceptual richness. His distinctive bookshelf prints interrogate the changing place of the printed word in a digital age, and the transfer of meaning through inter-textuality.
This September, the gallery will be launching Shelf Obsession, the long-awaited monograph on his work, published by Black Dog Publishing. Fully illustrated, the book will encompass Shaw's life story as well as critical essays on his work.
The book's launch will coincide with an exhibition of new work by Shaw, including four major bookshelves each exploring new concepts.
The Life Aquatic takes classical book titles and gives them a water-themed twist, with spines such as 'James and the Giant Perch' and 'The Codfather' featuring. Joining this will be All that Glisters, a shelf of metallic spines which are all the 'golden books' of their subject matter. In Shelf Help, which made its introduction at the prestigious Art on Paper New York fair, Shaw takes the Californian self help book and remodels it. On closer inspection, all the titles purport to teach us exactly the qualities one would not want to learn, with the authors manipulated to fit the theme - 'A Basic Course in Smugness by Wayne Smirk' is one such example, published by Superior Books. In addition to these three bookshelves, the exhibition will include Once Upon a Time (in the Land of the Book), a collection of titles which, when read in full from left to right, narrate a fairy tale. The last spine reads 'And They Lived Happily Ever After'.
The exhibition will also include examples from the London Underground series, Fiction and Friction works, the large-scale monochromatic Truth in Black and White with Some Grey Areas and The Special Relationship, a map created from bookspines which celebrates Britain's shared heritage with the US. Copies of Shaw's book will be available to purchase throughout the exhibition.