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Jon Shaw - Micropolis

Where residential clutter intermingles with industrial alleyscapes in dense harmony

On Display

Beginning Thursday 27 October 2022
Plate Glass Gallery

Jon Shaw’s Micropolis explores the urban-industrial landscape of Hamilton, Ontario, while referencing childhood memories with my father and his lifelong career in steel production.

The unique locations he and I discovered during various errands related to his work, where residential clutter intermingles with industrial alley-scapes in dense harmony, informs the visual narrative recreated with ink, acrylic and plywood.

These assemblages are pseudo-representational. Based on photographs taken all over the city, they are recreated into new and surreal places that echo a certain figment of reality. Just as childhood memories can be foggy and dreamlike in nature, the locales of Micropolis share a similar, intentionally-hazy mystique.

This series offers an exciting extension to my usual creative process. While I’m already quite comfortable painting on 2D wood panels, expanding into three-dimensional space has allowed for new and unique creative possibilities. Physical layering, varying heights of individual components, painting on two sides instead of one and altered/exaggerated perspectives have become new creative approaches. Despite being made of singular components, I must now consider the interaction of these layers from all angles to create satisfying arrangements in 360 degrees.

Micropolis was made possible by financial support from the Ontario Arts Council and the Niagara Artists Centre.

Jon Shaw - Micropolis

I was born and raised in St. Catharines, and received my BFA from Mount Allison University in 2008. After a brief stint in Toronto I relocated to Vancouver in 2010. There I painted the dense clutter of the Downtown Eastside while developing a passion for creating illustrative urban landscape works. In 2018 I relocated to St. Catharines and continue to further bodies of work about urban spaces in and around the Niagara Region.

My work can be viewed online at or on Instagram: @jonnieredbeard