Thom Shaw

(Cincinnati, 1947 - 2010)

North America, American

Shaw earned his MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

The raw power of Shaw's monumental woodcuts and drawings of gang violence indicate his commitment to art as a tool for change. Inspired by a variety of sources-including German Expressionist art, comic books, and the deep shadows and unusual camera angles of vintage horror and crime films-Shaw seeks to redress the social ills he observes in urban American culture. "Like the Expressionists, I depict things that I abhor as a way to expose them," says the artist. Although best known for his politically charged images, Shaw breaks new ground with his stirring series of self-portraits. Since undergoing heart by-pass surgery, he has rendered his own image with an exposed heart drawn in the center of his chest. The irregular edges and faint hatch marks in Shaw's prints are the result of the woodcut process in which bits of a wood block are chipped away to form a design in relief that it then inked and pressed onto paper. These lines and scratches also heighten the sense of energy within Shaw's work.


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