The Work of Eric Shaw at the Chait Galleries Downtown


“Beautiful Visions, Reality Engineered”

Eric Shaw was raised in Iowa City, Iowa, by his parents Blossom and Jay Shaw, and began to delve into art at the age of fifteen, when he began to teach himself photography. At this early age his work came to success, as he marketed a set of art postcards that depicted Iowa City scenes.

This was only the first step of his journey, and during the years 1984-6, he began learning the basics of metal fabricating, welding, and casting through the University of Iowa’s sculpture department- though he noted, “…most of my learning came from doing – from creating sculptures in my own shop. Piece by piece, over a period of several years starting in 1985, I built and bought the equipment for a small sculpture foundry shop. Manufacturing the metal-handling equipment and furnaces took a year. It was from this shop that all my artistic output flowed.”

Monumental works such as “Fly Dragon” and “Ancient Flower” were commissioned in 1988, and as he continued to work he gained reconciliation from the Percival Gallery in Des Moines, Iowa, selling works to the corporate head quarters of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Casey’s General Store and Iowa Realty Company, all of which located in Des Moines, Iowa. He was welcomed into a 1990 Quad Cities Regional Arts Showcase to show his piece Cactus I, and in 1991 a group show in the Percival Gallery. He continued on to be represented by Neville-Sargent Gallery, in Chicago, Illinois from 1991-6, and in 95-6 was represented by Wiederspan Gallery, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

His sculptures range from large outdoor pieces, to ones that can fit into any home space. “My works are manifested in a variety of realms of sculptural expression, from cast metal and fabricated steel to sculpted wood. Inspiration for my art is primarily derived from nature, but my interests also lie at the other end of the reality spectrum in geometric and crystal forms. In many of my works I take elements of plant life, animal life, human forms, or ancient structures and combine them to create unique forms that are a synthesis, like a double exposure, of the endless architectures of the natural world.”

He was a very prolific sculptor, that “[tried] to create beautiful visions that are reality engineered – creatures and structures from a new time and place. My goal has been to create art using forms that people can identify with, can learn from, or can just enjoy. In my art I strive to celebrate the rich heritage of life and the structural beauty of the parts of our earth, and through that art, to wrest a respect for our neglected and real world.”

He is survived by his parents Blossom and Jay Shaw, who continue his artistic legacy. In1999 a Gallery and Remembering was held in his memory, in 2002 a photography exhibition was held. In 2003 Blossom and Jay began efforts to find good homes for Eric’s larger sculptures. His work now resides in several museums and sculpture parks around the Midwest. Their favorite pieces will remain in the Shaw family, though they have offered these few remaining sculptures for sale at The Chait Galleries Downtown.

The Chait Galleries Downtown: Monday- Friday 11-6, Saturday 10-5, and Sunday by chance or appointment.


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