Originally Published in Delicious Line
Awash in formal and psychological tensions, drama and decay, Lui Shtini's "A Sawdust Feast" unnerves and unsettles. Featuring six oil on Dibond surfaces that pressurize shapes and space in unpredictable ways, Shtini grounds his forms on the fringes of figurative legibility. Once recognized, playful abstractions adopt sinister overtones.
In The Loot (2017), a cresting wave of burnt sienna gives way to a set of elongated, ivory-inflected teeth. Joined by the black beak of some cerulean-hued villain, they gnash into the variegated red facture of a fleshy form. Likewise, the near non-objectivity of Strapped Down (2017) hints at a grasping appendage dappled with blood.
Shtini's visual statement is forceful because the works are initially so seductive. With contrasts of matte versus high-gloss surfaces and linear versus painterly treatments, the pictures are catnip for lovers of abstraction. But they are also haunting ruminations on the inherent violence of consumption.