Alex Prager (Los Angeles, 1979) is one of the most interesting photographers of the current art scene. With four sets of images, titled Polyester (2007), The Big Valley (2008), Week-End (2010),and Face In the Crowd (2013) Prager has captured the attention of critics and museums. Her latest show, Face In the Crowd, is on exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery until March 2014.
After looking at her work I am sure you are thinking the same thing I did when I first encountered Prager, that she is heavily influenced by Cindy Sherman. If you didn’t think this or you don’t know Sherman please stop reading and go back to whatever you were doing before this. For those still with me, yes she is a clear student of Sherman but there is more to it than that. In many ways Alex Prager’s photographs remind us of Cindy Sherman, however, Prager is not a simple continuation of Sherman but her images show a ‘deeper dive’ into gender roles and stereotypes. This ‘difference’ can be seen when you look through Prager’s entire body of work. While Sherman’s work can be seen as influenced by movie tropes (and are sometimes kitschy), Prager focuses on the mythologies of women – stories of women. Her work looks at the tropes of women as a whole (not just the stereotypical roles of women in film). And what is most interesting about Prager is that she has done away with wit and cleverness, she has tossed aside the imagination — abandoned the postmodern mantle of irony. Her work is unapologetic and raw yet beautiful. So what does Prager say about all this? Of Sherman’s influence, she states “She’s a woman commenting on women and so am I. I’m also attracted to the weird and bizarre, and she’s a master at that. I relate to her use of color, lighting, and the way her ‘scenes’ are mocked up in a way that is never too clean.”
Big Valley (2008)
Week – End (2010)
In the Crowd (2013)