Tenderizer: Sarah Slappey

11 September - 31 October 2020 Galerie Maria Bernheim | Zurich

Sarah Slappey 


September 11 – October 31, 2020. 


Galerie Maria Bernheim is happy to announce a solo exhibition of new paintings by New York – based painter Sarah SlappeyAfter two years working together, we are delighted to be presenting her first solo show in Europe.  Slappey’s works harness the organic structures of the human body in surreal compositions that consider the thin and porous borders between the sensual and the repulsive. Her paintings attack ideas of the body as a  sublime theme of art, while creating bodily fantasies that invite the viewer inside. 

On view at the gallery are seven new large-scale paintings that further compound her interest in corporeal landscapes and the unrecognizable as highly sexualized. Slappey is part of a generation of female artistic practitioners who use humor and warping in an attempt to dismantle ideas of the traditional gaze on the female body in art and to rid painting of feminine shame. Slappey repurposes the predominantly male dominated artistic movements and styles of the nude, surrealism and physical abstraction in an initial response to her own body. Her work engages the viewer in a gloomy, almost repugnant world, where every detail is perfectly rendered, thus expanding our impression of an alternate sphere. Slappey’s works occupy a non-traditional space within painting where the reduction of women in the arts can be critiqued, while the presentation and celebration of the sensuality of the human body can be celebrated. It is this exact precision and attention to detail that elevate her work to another realm of comprehension, one where superimposition of beautiful images collides with slimy surreal symbolism, and reality’s political truths.  


All of the works, dripping, merging and bondaged consider the tension that exists between humans today, one where a longing to hold and interact exists along an impossibility to do so. In doing so, her work involves itself in a contemporary moment of figuration, while rejecting this same theme. Preferring the surreal and imagined to speak to the bodily everyday.  


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 Sargent’s Daughters, NY, Crush Curatorial, New York, NY; START Gallery, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC and George Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. She will be featured in group shows at Schlossmuseum in Linz, Austria and at Galerie König in Berlin, Germany this upcoming year.