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Shay Kun: Exfoliations

Benrimon Contemporary
514 West 24th Street, 2nd Floor, 212-924-2400
September 25 - October 30, 2010
Reception: Saturday, September 25, 5 - 9 PM
Web Site

Benrimon Contemporary is pleased to announce Exfoliations, Shay Kun’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, which will feature seventeen new paintings by the artist.

Kun recreates nineteenth-century Hudson River School landscapes and combines them with contemporary imagery such as military men, killer whales, skydivers, and hot air balloons. These contemporary motifs invade the pristine landscapes creating a socio-political, cultural, or environmental dialogue within the works.

The style of painting Kun is most recognized for is Now More Than Ever. Reminiscent of an Albert Bierstadt landscape, Kun skillfully juxtaposes nature with man-made objects. An old, rusted and dilapidated car is overtaken by a grassy forefront while deeper into the work a hot air balloon floats on its side in the water. Humans are noticeably absent from the work yet their presence can still be felt from these objects. The viewer may look at the work as a post-apocalyptic, post-human, environmental landscape. Begging the question: Will all that remains after us be the remnants of what we created?

Recently, Kun has been exploring the concept of mirrored imagery in his works, as seen in A Wrinkle in Time. Here he adeptly paints a mirror image of an idyllic landscape that is inhabited with deer but interrupted by a gathering of red, white and blue balloons in the center of the sky. The subtle American patriotic reference evokes thoughts of American expansion into the West as well as a broader idea of American colonialism.

The name piece for the exhibition, Exfoliations merges two different landscapes while still incorporating the mirrored picture theme. The artist incorporates a Thomas Cole-like waterfall with the interior of a colorful cave that is reflected into a pool of water. A boy wearing a white hooded sweatshirt sitting in the forefront and texting on his cell phone seems totally enthralled with his phone, ignorant of his surroundings. The work questions the ubiquity of human connections and its ramifications.

Shay Kun is an Israeli-born New York-based artist. He earned his B.F.A. at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, and went on to earn his M.F.A. from Goldsmiths College in London, England. Notable and upcoming exhibitions include “Animamix,” The Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum, China (2009) and “The Law of the Jungle,” Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York (2010).
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