Blue Reflection Under a Silver Snow
Pierre-Paul Cormier, Le Droit, Ottawa.

Simon Shegelman is a minstrel of the world of night, of nocturnal reflections, and of the artificial midnight sun. He is a bard who celebrates the neon lighting of our cities whose constant pulsing rhythm never fades.
As an artist of the artificial nocturnal reflections, he himself is totally devoid of artificiality. He is a genuine artist who follows no simple ready-made formulas. There is no falsehood here.
The neon lit bars of the capital cities and New York glimpsed beneath a blue and silver snow-covering are interwoven in a vision of world Apocalypse on the eve of the year 2000 - the Apocalypse of a world now plunged into into a long season of winter. And this world at the turn of a millennium seems to be entranced by the magnificence of its own existence, as though nothing around it had any further importance.
It is an imaginary paradise which takes us away from the toils of everyday existence. However, the artist shows us the latter as well, in order to emphasize even more the ephemeral nocturnal existence of a people who lock themselves away in their non-lit cells, away from the threat posed by the real world of daylight, whose threshold they cross every evening. And this "fin de siecle" light never wanes in significance - for, like the city itself, it never dies away when the sun rays fade.
Simon Shegelman's recently created large canvases reflect his nocturnal universe. Objectively, they reveal no obvious judgment of this night life. His palette and canvases themselves appear, as it were, as figures in an overall picture, and themselves replace actual personality. Herein lies the social significance of Shegelman's pictures.
Naturally, this painting consists of much more than mere scenes from night life, with all-night bars and dancers locked in the embrace of handsome strangers. All this is merely the exterior, a sort of "geography" of his art. His work is filled with light and with the interplay of surfaces of light in which some of them, fully saturated, interweave with other barely detectable once that gradually fade into the background of the picture. And these aphoristic reflexes create the impression made by the picture.
Shegelman's painting does not fit into any traditional mold, and anyone acquainted with his drawings and prints could confirm this. At the same time, his work does not follow that contemporary tendency which strives to make of art something more grandiose then nature itself. Real art, if it is to remain honest, should not try and transcend nature. And Simon Shegelman is an honest artist, his work is honest, and his canvases are genuine ones. His New York experience is conveyed not only in his vision of reality, but also in the very manner of his work, in his eloquent and precise plasticity.