The complex reality of life is reflected in art, and Shex emphatically demonstrates this fact. Born in Gorazde, Bosnia, in 1957, he grew up believing in dreams as happy children do, until the day when he saw that one house could fight against another house. Since then he has lived in Rome, in Montreal and Toronto, and he has travelled and exhibited his art worldwide. During his stay in Rome, from 1992 to 1995, he studied the sfumato style of painting. While the Italian Renaissance masters Leonardo and Correggio used this technique to create soft, nebulous backgrounds by blending colours and tones, Shex applies this style to the entire painting. This is not to say that he excludes the use of well defined lines and edges. It is rather that the sfumato in his paintings is the dominant style and an important part of the message. This style endows his paintings with a mystical, enigmatic character, and it portrays human figures as part of a larger world that denies them the defined worlds they once enjoyed and that gave them identity and importance. Shex nurtures this essential characteristic of his paintings with other strategies that give them a disturbing quality. He masterfully manipulates extraordinary interrelations of time and space, offering at times distinct moments in the same space.
At other times there are disproportionate confrontations, the massive evil against the small but luminous good, a bicycle that because of the configuration, the proportions and the geometry of its parts, constitutes an almost impossible challenge for whoever contemplates riding it.
Shex has stated that there are two types of imitation that of external and visible forms, and that which, by means of colours, structure and forms, materializes what is felt and conceptualized. This is the mimesis that he favours, and in it resides the sensibility of this man who modulates and sfumates with tenderness his great strength. He thus allows us to discern even in desolate situations sparks of light that point to possible exits. And in the face of the great menace he offers us the small and propitious figure of defiance.
Shex has exhibited his works in galleries in Bosnia, Montenegro, Yugoslavia, Italy and Canada, in this last case, especially in Montreal and Toronto. His paintings live in houses and offices in several other countries. This architect and painter feels particularly satisfied when his creations go out and marry other worlds, and bind to those worlds their energy and messages, which, Shex believes, vindicates the raison d’être of art. His paintings comment with eloquence and controlled passion on the decisive experiences of human life.
Professor Keith Ellis, University of Toronto