Prendergast’s works begin with charcoal renderings of snarling dogs in S&M muzzles alongside

flying bouquets, the ferocious side-by-side with the delicate, both drawn in spiked, feverish lines

that somehow conjure the sensuous textures of fur and flower petals. She intercedes upon

these figurative compositions with spray-painted lines and crisp but arbitrary frames in stark

fluorescent colors, offset against muted backgrounds. The resulting works navigate

contradictory impulses, combining gestural with graphic, electric with pastel, hard with soft.

The trope of the domesticated but unruly hound appears throughout the history of painting as a

mark of status, an indication of power asserting itself through dominion over the wild. Bouquets,

meanwhile, have long served as icons of nature clipped and ordered to appeal to human

sensibilities, crucially undermined by their brief shelf lives. Invoking history in this way,

Prendergast speaks to both the elegance of nature and to the harshness of humanity’s

perpetual instinct to tame it. By her own admission, Prendergast is searching for the hellish

sublime, a confluence of oppositions that, rather than negate each other, arrive at a kind of

euphoria through paradox. Just as her pictorial techniques juxtapose styles, her chosen

iconography of hounds and flowers bear similar, and historic, internal tensions. Both overtly

point to human intervention upon nature, suggesting that it has created for us a world of artifice

whose layers of mediation can be found at every turn.

Prendergast’s paintings are compounded by their association with the artist herself, who

appears in the exhibition’s poster in mermaid’s repose, topless and flanked by German

Shepherds, her electric blonde hair falling at her sides in long straight sheets. This is Peegirl,

Prendergast’s longtime public persona, who embodies iconic tropes of hypersexualized

American femininity so extremely as to almost subvert them. Peegirl first came into prominence

on social media and has gone on to play collaborator and muse to artists across disciplines,

including Jason Omar Al-Taan, SOPHIE, and David LaChapelle. She appears on t-shirts,

towels, and mugs, often in the nude. By making Peegirl the face of her exhibition, Prendergast

makes a gesture comparable to the pop star dropping her confessional album. The move

indicates that the two figures are not discontinuous but rather one and the same, finding

honesty within performativity.

-Jack Levinson