Shay Kun’s Photo Realistic Dreamlike paintings

Shay Kun’s paintings push viewers to challenge their philosophical and aesthetic limitations. While the paintings use appropriated images from the internet, glossy magazines and daily life, they question where fantasy begins and reality ends. Our dreams and thoughts are capable of taking us on journeys beyond reality, but when do we actually cross that threshold? Could we have actually experienced scenes as we remember them?

Each piece in the exhibition explores fantasy and escapism not only with evocative imagery, but also with a variety of source materials and methods of display. In Brief Encounter, Kun offers a film noir still of a car driving into the depths of a rainy night and invites onlookers to remember not only familiar films with similar atmospheres, but their own experiences with departure and loss. Kun also manipulates the foreground into a complex, dramatic tableau; the foreground presents an almost surrealist puddle without the literal interference of a window. Condensation from precipitation, however, is reserved for the background; the scenario is physically impossible, and the painting teases the mind to understand its dissonance.

Objects like ropes, hot air balloons and old-fashioned cars accrue an almost satirical element with their nostalgic references to a pleasant past and childhood. These idyllic environments are predominately kept in the background of these pieces, but the masterfully painted objects feel at once fresh with their photo-realistic qualities. These are contemporary works that challenge the effectiveness of memory and suggest that nostalgia shapes and colors our interpretations of the past.      

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