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"Shimon Okshteyn: Dangerous Pleasures - New Paintings and Sculpture"
2008-10-22 until 2008-12-06
Stux Gallery
New York, NY, USA United States of America

Stux Gallery, New York is pleased to announce “Dangerous Pleasures”, an exhibition of new works by Shimon Okshteyn. A cacophony of visual abundance and the excessive aesthetics of pleasure and pain are at the heart of Dangerous Pleasures, which features hyper-realistic paintings, sculpture and mixed media installations. The exhibition will be on view from October 23rd through December 6th, 2008, and will be accompanied by a full color catalogue with an essay by Dominique Nahas. In these massively scaled works, Okshteyn expands upon his signature sensational mimetic representations of old master paintings and objects culled from every day life to focus his sites on the vices of contemporary culture. Here the artist assumes the role of snake charmer, or master of ceremonies, hawking his liniments, lotions and “snake oil” concoctions, all the while acutely focusing our attention on the collective shortcomings of society, both real and perceived. Painted directly onto the surfaces of highly reflective mirrors, viewers are forcefully inserted into the artist’s dialogues with Heroin (2008), Cocaine (2008), Extasy (2008), and Pills

Invoking disorientating tableaus from which a myriad of possible narratives can emerge, Okshteyn sustains a heightened involvement with reflective surfaces, such as glass and mirror, to suggest a dynamically invasive sense of self-monitoring, as well as the enlargement, distortion and splintering of the self under pressure. The profoundly confessional nature of Okshteyn’s painting is further emphasized by the inclusion of life-sized cast marble renditions of the artist’s nude body (surrogates for the artist) measured, despairingly, against the now mythologized achievements of art history giants (Self Portrait, 2008, Still Life with Pork, 2008).

Sitting on the precipice between pain and pleasure, the artist has created in these works complex hybridizations that confuse distinctions between time and place, real and unreal. In further mining the surface of our shared reality, Okshteyn simultaneously invites us to follow him on his journey as he delves deeper into the distinctiveness of his own fantasies, drives, appetites, fears, and desires.

Shimon Okshteyn (b. 1951) emigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union in 1980. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, NY, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY, and the State Russian Museum of Art, Russia, to name a few. Okshteyn recently closed a traveling retrospective exhibition organized by the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, resulting in a catalogue raisonné of the artist’s works to date. (2008), where they are encouraged to question the commonly held belief that pleasure and happiness are just one pill away.

Shimon Okshteyn
Cocaine, 2008,
Oil on mirror,
60 x 80 inches

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