Ernest Shaw began his career as a psychiatrist. After a decade, he became dissatisfied with his practice and began to pursue his interest in art making as a vehicle for self expression. Drawing upon his childhood fascination with crafting small, sculptural objects from found materials, in 1974, Shaw challenged himself to a forge a career in art. He taught himself the basics of sculptural technique and gained empirical knowledge of materials. His first experiments with steel produced a series of metal pods. Hammered, punctured, and mutilated on the surfaces, these works speak of a confrontational dialogue between artist and medium. They have been said to draw a visual parallel to a particular type of psychological procedure, primal scream sessions, in which patients were drawn out of lethargic states and forced to confront unpleasant psychological problems. With unbridled curiosity, Shaw has continued to explore and master various new mediums and aesthetic challenges.
Over the last three decades, Shaw produced a body of work that is both protean and prolific, exploring a variety of different mediums and techniques and challenging the fundamental concepts of balance, composition, gravity, compression and expansion. Shaw continues to work in his studio in the Shawgunk Mountains outside New Paltz, New York. He has participated in many solo and group exhibitions at such noted galleries and museums as the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, FL; Sculpture Center, New York City, NY; Hamilton Gallery, New York City, NY; Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, NY. His work is included in the collections of the Indianapolis Art Museum, Indianapolis, IN; Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS; the Jewish Museum, New York City, NY; Nelson Rockefeller Collection, Pocantino, NY; and in many university collections throughout the United States.