Exhibition - White Room: Daisy May Sheff - A Mountain Girl with Skyblue Teeth

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 12:00pm

White Columns
91 Horatio Street
New York, NY 10014

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White Columns is proud to present A Mountain Girl with Skyblue Teeth the debut solo exhibition by the Inverness, CA-based artist Daisy May Sheff.

Sheff’s exhibition comprises a group of fifteen paintings produced over the past year. The exhibition’s title A Mountain Girl with Skyblue Teeth is adapted from the lyrics of Marc Bolan’s pre-Glam era 1969 song ‘Cat Black (The Wizard’s Hat)’. In her re-reading of the lyric, Bolan’s original ‘Mountain Man’ has been transformed into Sheff’s ‘Mountain Girl.’

Writing about her approach Sheff has stated: “My paintings offer glimpses into detailed, private narratives. The paintings share the arbitrary laws of fairytales – a world outside of everyday existence with a logic all its own. They are at once sincere and absurd. All these images recall pieces of stories, which I reconfigure, in a search for something essential to emerge. My paintings are occupied with the amoral, the wild, the left-hand path. Content like this is at once beautiful, sinister, comedic, and camp. I explicitly allow random, haphazard content to enter the paintings: cartoons, antiquated expressions, forgotten drawings scratched on a bathroom wall. Nothing in the paintings is sacred – any previous decision is on the table to be sacrificed. There is a tension – a simultaneous resistance and reverence of something perfect, balanced, and beautiful. The bright colors become muddied and undermined by black and gray. At times, what would be negative space is thick and solid or what should be a body is transparent. Heaviness, lightness, foreground, and background are confused. Many of the paintings devolve so much from their origins that they become abstracted. Language I have been developing compulsively for a long time is reduced down sometimes to a color or shape.”

In this stage-like, painterly space Sheff has created an entirely convincing and self-contained aesthetic realm: an imagined territory populated by a shifting cast of her equally convincing characters. Sheff’s unabashed embrace of narrative, the theatrical, and the folkloric resonates within a recent tradition in figurative art, exemplified by such distinct and maverick voices as Kai Althoff, Peter Doig, Ellen Gronemeyer, and Katharina Wulff, among others. Writing about her own – immediate – influences Sheff has expressed a kinship with the post-war Bay Area figurative painters and especially with the late 1960s/early 1970s Northern Californian ‘Nut Art’ group of artists centered around Roy De Forest: with Sheff both drawn to and drawing from their use of humor and their privileging of the absurd and the phantasmagoric.

Daisy May Sheff (b. 1996) received a BFA from UCLA in 2018, where she studied with Silke Otto-Knapp, Lari Pittman, Barbara Kruger, Ruby Neri, and Benjamin Weissman, among others. Her work has been included in a number of group exhibitions since 2014. This is her first solo exhibition. White Columns encountered Sheff’s work in 2020 when she submitted it for consideration to White Columns’ Curated Online Registry. Since her joining the Registry, her work has been included in the recent White Columns Online show, The Void, which is viewable on our website. To learn more about the Curated Online Registry, visit: https://registry.whitecolumns.org.

Exhibition Date: March 23, 2021 - May 15, 2021

Location: White Room   

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