Shimon Okshteyn “The Magic Mirror”

Black & White Gallery / Project Space

poster for Shimon Okshteyn “The Magic Mirror”
[Image: Shimon Okshteyn "Pills" (2010) oil on mirror, 48x60 in.]

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With The Magic Mirror, Black & White Gallery/Project Space presents works by Shimon Okshteyn (b.1951, lives in New York). The solo show features recent body of work where the artist reflects on a world without personal boundaries and social taboo. Executed in a traditional genre of still life, Okshteyn’s extraordinary mimetic accuracy and signature blunt renditions of drug use and attendant paraphernalia only serve to heighten the indeterminacy of meaning that permeates his work. The paintings are structured as pictorial compositions whose realism is given a new meaning by the mirror on which each one is painted creating a highly subjective space marked by tension and melancholy.

Focused on a tension between the visible and the invisible: the thoughts and concerns that echo of memories and emotions in us, Okshteyn employs a simple but impeccable technique of oil painting on mirror to suggest a dynamically invasive sense of self-monitoring, distortion and splintering of the self under pressure. The work addresses the bearing down on what it means to be real, looking at oneself in the mirror as if for the first time and acknowledging the remorseless encroachment of aging.

“Shimon Okshteyn’s visual world is unusually stimulating because its fastidious craftsmanship, strong compositional formats and unusual mixtures of materials lead to an inner world whose range is as complex as it is unpredictable and varied. His well-informed appropriationist tendencies are abetted by the artist’s urge towards classical traditions that balance gloomy introspection against outward looking strength. Add to this a coherent yet surprising use of thematic material, a richness of invention, and a systematized build up of narrative - all of these aspects make Okshteyn’s work irresistibly attractive to the eye - a haptic feast laced with metatonic power.” Dominique Nahas

Shimon Okshteyn was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, is a graduate of the Mitrofan Grekov Art Institute in Odessa, lives and works in the USA since 1980. Since the early days in his new country, he has been a keen & sensitive observer of the external environment voraciously absorbing it. He did not hold onto the past, but took the best from it: school of academic drawing, virtuosity of a painter and a draughtsman and a close attention to realistic details. In his work he combines academic training and dot drawing with a new feeling and approach to the subject. Balancing between the high and the low, public and private, Okshteyn expresses his reality in his work. He is the barometer of time who defines where the artistic interest of the epoch moves.

Okshteyn’s work has been exhibited in museums and commercial galleries and is in many important private and public collections. Most notably, his work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, The Brooklyn Museum, NY, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, NC, Grinnell College Art Museum, IA and The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. The work included in The Magic Mirror was on view at the Galerie Rudolfinum and Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague in the Decadence Now! Visions of Excess exhibition curated by Otto M. Urban.



from October 27, 2017 to November 19, 2017

Opening Reception on 2017-10-27 from 18:00 to 21:00


Shimon Okshteyn

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