Harper’s is pleased to present Historic Rainbow, an exhibition of new paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Mairikke Dau. The solo show will be Dau’s first with the gallery and will launch the Fall 2021 season at Harper’s Apartment in New York City. Harper’s Apartment is open to the public Thursday through Saturday, 12–6pm.
Tree stumps, cuttlefish, a light bulb, an athletics trophy: What do these pictures have to do with each other in Showmanship, one of nine easel-sized oil paintings included in Historic Rainbow? At first blush, nothing. Yet Dau’s practice is geared toward making unlike things fit together as if they were natural companions. This approach extends throughout each work in the exhibition. Like puzzle pieces, her bold forms perfectly hug the contours of each other, clearly delineated by their hard edges and solid colors, all of which are painted by hand. Some forms are abstract shapes while others are recognizable motifs. Everything Dau paints fit neatly on the canvas’s two-dimensional plane as if each element she drafts was always meant to be there.
The more time spent with the paintings, the more familiar they feel. Her unusual combinations are boundless and encourage viewers to come up with their own intuitive associations. One might see the orthotic insoles of an aged relative, next to the tensed face of a purebred horse, next to a decorative piece of plastic toast, next to a showerhead that won't turn off: these seemingly random arrangements create the sense that there is something useful about Dau's careful technique of bringing order to disorder. Similar to the way a rainbow divides the color spectrum into seven bands, Dau turns chaotic arrangements into recognizable patterns that recall memories and conjure the imagination.
Mairikke Dau (b. 1979, San Francisco, CA) received a BFA from University of California Santa Cruz in 2001, and an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2013. Most recently, Dau’s work has been exhibited at Harper’s, New York and East Hampton, NY (2021 and 2020); EXPO Chicago, online (2021); SHRINE, New York, NY (2020); Sardine, Brooklyn, NY (2019); and Safe Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2016). From 2013–17, she organized Home Perm, a performance art event at various venues in Brooklyn, NY. Dau lives and works in New York City.