Life is unbearable without tragedy.*
Sargent's Daughters is pleased to present Dark Spring a group exhibition of ceramics, works on paper and paintings by Shary Boyle, Sarah Slappey and Brandi Twilley.
The exhibition takes its title from Unica Zürn’s 1967 short novel of the same name, which traces the erotic awakening and subsequent suicide of a young girl. Zürn’s nameless heroine is engaged in masochistic fantasies that combine pain and pleasure, immersing herself in a suffering that ultimately consumes her.
The three artists in this exhibit all give attention to the hidden depths and darker desires of feminine sexuality. Shary Boyle’s watercolors of bygone film stars turn the delicate beauties ghoulish, elongating their features into cartoon proportions both humorous and terrifying. Her ceramics are equally unnerving, portraying demonic spirits in dainty porcelain. Sarah Slappey’s paintings of entwined limbs tangle and untangle in a forest of flesh, one part begins just as the other ends, forming an endless loop. Brandi Twilley’s paintings of female torsos are bathed in the bluish glow of a computer screen, their features cropped out and sexuality rendered anonymous despite their intimacy. Also anonymous are the loosely rendered women’s bodies on the beach at night, a sparkling city sky behind their cold white flesh.
Entwined in each of these artists’ works is a darkness that we cannot escape, permeating aspects of all our lives. We cannot forget that flowers grow in the dirt, and eventually, that is where they return.
Shary Boyle (1972, Toronto, ON) is a multidisciplinary Canadian artist. Boyle’s work considers the social history of ceramic figurines, animist mythologies and folk art forms to create a symbolic, feminist and politically charged language uniquely her own. She has performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY (2008), The Hammer Museum, LA (2006) and the Olympia Theatre, Paris (2005), and her work has been included in the National Gallery of Canada’s previous three Canadian Biennales. She represented Canada with her project Music for Silence at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. Shary Boyle is the recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize. Her public art commission Cracked Wheat was installed August 2018 on the front grounds of the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. Her work will be featured at the museum in a major solo exhibition opening January 2021.
Sarah Slappey (b. 1984, Columbia, South Carolina) is a painter based in Brooklyn. Slappey graduated from Wake Forest University in 2006 and completed her MFA from Hunter College in 2016. In 2015, she was awarded a Kossak Painting Grant and a Hunter MFA award in Painting. Slappey has exhibited at Crush Curatorial, New York, NY; START Gallery, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC and George Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.
Brandi Twilley (b. 1982, Oklahoma City, OK) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from Yale University, New Haven, CT in 2011 and has recently exhibited at The Museum of Sex, New York, NY; Lord Ludd, Philadelphia, PA; Bible, New York, NY and Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY. She is a 2017 Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program resident and a recipient of a 2018 Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant. Brandi Twilley is represented by Sargent’s Daughters.
*Unica Zürn, Dark Spring, trans. Caroline Rupprecht (Cambridge, Exact Change, 2000), 55.