Welcome to HERO Art Month, our cross-sectional study of the international contemporary art scene during which we look at the key gatekeepers, from artists to gallerists, architects and curators, the established and emerging feature side by side as part of our month-long investigation into some of the most influential figures in the scene.
Ever since she bought her first camera, LA-based photographer Alex Prager has investigated the unique blend of reality and artifice indigenous to her home city, drawing upon the visual language of Hollywood’s Golden Era to re-examine contemporary ideals of perfection and the sinister reality of anxiety, fear and loss that it often conceals. Her recent retrospective at The Photographers Gallery demonstrated the pertinence of her work in a world dominated by cultivated social media personas and ease of image manipulation.
Offering up a piece close to her heart for our HERO Art Month Endorsed series, Alex has selected the work of little sister Vanessa, who began painting at nineteen with her first show coming in 2003. Her distinctive impasto technique traces the female form in varying degrees of abstraction, combing elements of landscape and portraiture for a sensuous canvas with a real sense of depth. Sure Thing forms part of Prager’s current exhibition at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery in London, featuring a wider selection of paintings centred on the oft hazy and indecipherable female form.
Alex Prager on why she selected Vanessa Prager’s Sure Thing:
“The Sure Thing painting by Vanessa Prager in her Soft Serve show that’s currently up in London is full of freedom, emotion and colour. The layers of paint are wildly thick impasto and have this incredible way of moving even though it’s a stagnant picture. It feels more like a sculpture depending on how you view it. The focus of this piece is a woman and not just any woman, one that is strong, inquisitive and in the flesh, completely comfortable in her own skin. I’m drawn to her big legs and feet. She feels like a part Robert Crumb and part Lucian Freud woman.”
Sure Thing is on until 11th November at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, SW18 1TG