Cultured Magazine

June/July 2015

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STUDIO 86 CULTURED Clockwise from top left: Lui Shtini in his studio; Turk, 2015; Flaka, 2015; an installation view of "Pared-Down," closing June 20 at Silberkuppe gallery in Berlin; the view from the studio. Lui Shtini Brooklyn, 11201 BY BRENT LEWIS Beneath the Manhattan Bridge, Lui Shtini's well-lit studio is filled with beautiful, strange and alluring paintings in various stages of completion. Shtini's work has evolved greatly over several years, from well-articulated Surrealist still lifes, to small and precise panels that present layers of abstract forms. The slow and steady development of this work began with a hiatus from painting and a return to drawing and simple mark- making—the careful and diligent building up of layers—which eventually provided Shtini a new framework for formal expression. "The discovery of something new and the abandonment, the remaking or reordering of that which is known and understood, can be as exciting as it can be terrifying," says Shtini. His new work found its place with a series of face paintings shown at Kate Werble Gallery in 2013, and continues to develop at Shtini's residency at the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program and in several upcoming exhibitions. The works are as familiar as they are unknown. "For me, painting is at the same time the simplest and most complex form of expression—and one of the oldest," says Shtini. Oriented as portrait panels, the paintings feature a discourse of textures and strong, yet delicately balanced colors, giving them an inviting physicality. They draw one close in the same way one feels drawn to certain objects or furniture. One is given a strong desire to touch and if not for the strangeness of the compositions—which pushes you back just enough to see them—you probably would. But anyway, they are paintings, so you look instead. PHOTOS BY BRENT LEWIS (TOP ROW, BRIDGE); COURTESY OF SILBERKUPPE "For me, painting is at the same time the simplest and most complex form of expression." — Lui Shtini

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