Lui Shtini: Three Summers
2156 West Fulton Street
Chicago, IL 60612
January 17, 2020 - February 22, 2020
It is with great pleasure that Corbett vs. Dempsey announces Three Summers, an exhibition of new paintings and sculpture by Lui Shtini. This is the artist’s third show at the gallery. Born and raised in Albania and based in New York, Shtini has approached surface as an intimate part of the construction of image. A substantive series of “portraits,” consisting of small and medium-sized works depicting heads and sometimes shoulders, introduced his oblique version of the imaginary figure, their features articulated or supplanted by sublime and unusual textures; subsequent paintings and drawings complicated the compositions as they upped the scale dramatically, landing on a group of large paintings with multiple figures, highly abstracted and incorporating even more kinds of surface, often locked in agonistic, even unsettling interaction. Shtini’s new paintings, executed on Dibond aluminum panel, return to an intimate scale, retaining the intense compositional ingenuity and unfettered love of surface, but in place of their predecessors’ anxiousness is a sense of peace. Organic forms – perhaps botanical, perhaps animal, perhaps alien – unfold and open, standing still, vibrating; their opulent energy is stored up and beamed outward rather than released as a torrent aimed from one figure at another. Made in Sardinia, where Shtini spends part of the year, these paintings are accompanied by a series of sculptures, the first three-dimensional work exhibited by the artist. Constructed around a very particular flotsam that washes up on the Sardinian beachscape, Shtini’s sculptures are hardly readymades. The meticulously shaped works consist of three materials familiar to Shtini from his childhood – commercial polystyrene, stucco, and Posidonia, a Mediterranean seaplant. Although they utilize a very reduced palette, basically white, the sculptural works are immediately identifiable as cousins to the paintings and are unmistakably Shtini. Weirdly topographic, with a delicate mottled surface, they stage a kind of tensile interaction between objects, a dance of disabused industrial and vegetable matter, in which the oval-shaped seaweed is often suspended between two immaculately anthropomorphic stucco forms.