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Alarm Clock

   Associated images:

Shimon Okshteyn

American, Born Ukranian 1951

Alarm Clock 2001
Master printer - Maryanne Ellison Simmons, Editioning completed by Tom Reed
Lithograph, Collagraph
Somerset Satin
79"h x 59"w
Ed. 14
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Shimon Okshteyn, who made his prints at Island Press in 2001, had been working on large-scale works for a number of years. His enormous graphite drawings (a 7 x 4 foot drawing on canvas was an "average" size for him) depict discarded mundane objects such as old suitcases, clocks, shoes, or irons. Okshteyn discovers a poetry in his photo-realist depictions of these objects and rescues them from the oblivion of the past. Master printer Maryanne Ellison Simmons was immediately attracted to Okshteyn’s work when she first saw it in New York in November 2000. While Okshteyn had made traditional lithographs on stone in Paris with Mourlot, he had never made a print that was the size of his drawings. Indeed, he remarked that it took him a few days to learn how to translate his big work to another medium.(1) Working with cast paper, painting pulp, lithography, and collagraph, he produced three separate images of an alarm clock and a comb during the week he spent in St. Louis. He seized upon the opportunity that Simmons offered him to push his boundaries of creativity and experiment with the tools that she made available. And like Elyashiv and so many artists before him, Okshteyn was especially impressed by the zeal of the students, their flexibility, and their desire to accommodate the visiting artist. He found them very willing to try anything new, an attitude that was certainly fostered by the presence of Simmons and Hall. The grand images that Okshteyn produced now serve as the paradigm of Island Press’s mission – their complexity marked by their size and combination of processes (handmade paper, painting pulp, collagraph, and lithograph) was best achieved through a collaboration of artist, master printers, and an "army" of aspiring young artists with enormous drive and passion.

Marilyn Kushner
Curator and Chair of the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Brooklyn Museum of Art
1 Shimon Okshteyn to the author, December 24, 2001.