Self-taught, Los Angeles-based photographer, Alex Prager's current show Week-End at Yancey Richardson features "constructed narratives and dramatic portraits" through which "Prager explores a range of female types from vulnerable to powerful, from tragic to tender and from coolly detached to literally playing with fire," (from the show's press release). Finding inspiration and setting her works in her hometown of Los Angeles, the artist has described the city as “A strange picture of perfection… with a sense of unease under the surface of all this beauty and promise.” Her photos can be described in the same exact way.
Prager casts her friends as models and dresses them up in "wigs, makeup and retro costumes." Her subjects look deliciously camp and over-done in polyester outfits, fiery red hair, garish lipstick and nail polish, and spidery eyelashes heavily caked in mascara. The highly stylized and cinematic images depict Prager's subjects "acting" out roles, "most often [as] a solitary figure absorbed in a personal drama" that is happening outside the frame.
Prager's rich, mysterious images are like a sort of technicolor film noir that can have viewers forever speculating what sinister activities her glamorous protagonists are up to. Learn more at Yanceyrichardson.com and at the artist's website alexprager.com. Through February 20th.