- Francis Summers
(b Midland, MI, Aug 8, 1952).
American painter, draughtsman, sculptor and conceptual artist. Rejecting the notion of a signature style, he instead occupies other styles in a chameleon-like way. Rather than taking codified notions of ‘pop’ culture as was done by the previous generation of American artists, or appropriating wholesale images or objects, in the manner of the New York Neo-Geo artists, Shaw has developed a methodology of mimicking styles and incorporating them into his encyclopaedically deranged projects. His primary interest seems to be in the overlooked creative production of the American public at large, as is attested to by his collection of thrift-store paintings, which he showed in both galleries and museums.
Inspired by the cut-up technique used by the American novelist William S. Burroughs, in his first major project, My Mirage (1986–91), Shaw used a fragmented and hallucinatory narrative to chart the changing psyche of his alter-ego Billy, charting his development from adolescence, through his discovery of sex and drugs, to his subsequent fall and finally to his rebirth through organized religion. In this project, Shaw kept each of the works to a standardized size (17×14 in.) in order to give cohesion to images produced in a wide variety of styles. Such works as ...