Roman Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of Deceptive Spaces, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Sarah Slappey. Deceptive Spaces, marks Slappey’s first major solo exhibit and her first show at Roman Fine Art. The show will open with a reception for the artist Friday, April 28, 7-9pm.
Deceptive Spaces features a collection of new oil paintings from recent Hunter College MFA graduate, Sarah Slappey. Slappey has described her painting style as having roots in the Southern Gothic aesthetic, an amalgamation of Bible Belt superstition, ghost stories, swamp lore and mysticism. Her paintings explore pleasure and pain as experienced through evolving narratives, haunted places, seductive color, and dark humor.
In Slappey’s previous body of work, she was largely focused on the body within nature. Figures would appear in forests, shady groves, and among ominous brush. The simultaneous beauty and terror of nature spoke to the fear expressed in the paintings. In each scene, figures hovered between perpetrator and victim, and the natural surroundings were simultaneously cold and protective. In her most recent paintings, Slappey explores the same kind of pleasure/fear emotional response but within interior spaces. Mother nature’s relationship with fear and the sublime is evident; Slappey wanted to explore the challenge of recreating this emotional tenor within an interior, man-made space.
In this series Slappey was also interested in the idea of framing and illusion, both literally and figuratively. Each of the paintings reference themselves as imaginary and illusory spaces, and framing within the scenes points to this self-awareness. In the natural settings, the images are both highly rendered, but also speckled with abstract pieces that take the viewer out of the illusion of the painting. Many of the interior paintings contain paintings-within-paintings, referencing works by Boucher, Fragonard, and other master painters. Both the new interior and previous exterior spaces aim to explore qualities of shifting reality and visual destabilization.
Slappey remains interested in beauty, color, and luscious painting. She sees these as an important counterpoint to a scene that would otherwise be uncomfortable. The bright color and delicate paint handling keep a viewer engaged. Things might appear real, but reveal themselves to be illusions. Like a dream, each painting's reality constantly shifts and resists explanation.
Sarah Slappey (b. 1984, Columbia, South Carolina) live and works in Brooklyn, NY. 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 in both solo and group shows in South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, and Italy. In 2016, her paintings were exhibited in Hamptons’ Market Art + Design and in 2017, she was represented by Damien Roman Gallery at Scope New York. Her work has appeared in such publications as Social Life, Long Island Pulse, and Hamptons Art Hub. Damien Roman has represented this artist since 2016, and this is her first solo exhibition with Roman Fine Art.