About the Artist
Shay Kun’s oils on canvas are an infusion, a hybrid of absurdities. Drawing on the style and subject matter of the Hudson River School, particularly Thomas Cole’s reverent paeans to nature and Albert Bierstadt’s awestruck visions of the sublime in the American west, the works capture the grandeur of nature. Despite acquiring a newly cultured look, these landscapes, made with sincerity and attention, are transformed into a juxtaposition of nature and its human invaders who appear in the guise of tourists or adventure seekers. The contrast between these contemporary characters and their stylized environment is abrupt and creates a palpable dissonance underlining them as an almost offensively inadequate substitute for the deities or characters of noble bearing in the paintings of centuries past. Small but obnoxious, they infest nature rather than enjoying its restorative powers.
Cole and Bierstadt ascribed spiritual qualities to the environment and warned of the destruction being caused by expansion. In Kun’s works, the damage has been done- lakes are littered with junked cars and pristine vistas are blighted by tightropes, rickety bridges, and other evidence of human interlopers. Even so, what these visitors leave are their traces. Even with all of their destructive capabilities they have still not begun to overwhelm the environment and its magical possibilities indicating ultimately that perhaps there is still hope.