Born in Belfast, Shaw decided to become a sculptor at the age of 15, after discovering a book on Rodin. He came to England to study first at Manchester Polytechnic, then at Falmouth College of Art, where he received his BA (Hons) in Fine Art. After a brief time as a conservator of buildings and sculpture, he decided to devote himself fully to his sculptural practice. He lives on a farm in Cornwall, where he has had his home and studios for over 30 years. He has been a tutor at Newlyn School of Art since 2016.

In 2008 his 'Tank on Fire' was awarded the Selectors' Choice Threadneedle Prize. He won the prestigious Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition of 2015, the Mullan Prize at the Royal Ulster Academy, and a Kenneth Armitage Foundation Fellowship allowing him to spend two and a half years residing and working in the late sculptor's London Studio. In 2015 he won the George Schimmel Fellowship at the Kate Hamburger Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities 'Law as Culture' in Bonn.

He has also been awarded international residences in Greece, Spain and Ireland.

Major commissions include 'The Minotaur' for the Royal Opera House, London; 'The Rites of Dionysus' for the Eden Project; 'The Green Man' for Antony House, Plymouth; and 'The Drummer' for the Hall for Cornwall in Truro.

In 2013 he was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and he exhibits in the RA Summer Exhibition annually.

His most significant international solo exhibition to date was the highly acclaimed Beyond Reason (Oct 2018 to Feb 2019) at the San Diego Museum of Art. This included six of his immersive, large-scale installations, exploring themes of global terrorism, freedom of speech, abuse of power and the future of AI. 


Sculpture, installations

works and access

Works incl: Onlooker, Bronze (edition 8) Falmouth Exh Cat 2000, p22 illus


2013: Newlyn Art Gallery - Newlyn School of Art Tutors Fundraising Exhibition (24 Oct-2 Nov)

Millennium Gallery, St Ives: Mixed Winter Exhibition Dec. 2013 - Jan. 2014

2017: Something is Not Quite Right, Anima-Mundi, St Ives (Oct)

2018: What Remains, The Exchange, Penzance (10 Feb-14 May)

2019: Protected by Alarms - at the Old Vicarage Flats, St Ives, Anima Mundi (25 Oct-16 Nov)

2022: Fag an Bealach (Clear the Way), Anima Mundi, St Ives (18 Feb-4 Apr)

2022/23: The Pain of Others, Dox Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague (8 Dec-16 April)


Exh Cat: 20 Years of Contemporary Art at Falmouth Art Gallery 1980-2000