This week, Vanessa Prager opened her first solo show in New York at The Hole, the latest LA-based artist to take their work out East. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, that is because Vanessa is the younger sister of the popular hyperrealistic photographer, Alex Prager.
Entitled Voyeur, the show continues the large scale, heavily layered oil paintings that Vanessa began showing last year at Richard Heller gallery in LA. Pounds upon pounds of oil and plaster are slathered on large (and a few tiny) canvases, forming abstracted faces, primarily recognizable by the suggestions of eyes. Some of the works are more literal than others, though Vanessa has stated that all of the portraits are of fictitious people.
“Everyone adds their own history to a work if it’s good. I’m always excited to see what people will identify with,” SAYS Prager.
The gallery itself is sectioned off into smaller rooms than usual, with peep holes placed on various walls alongside the paintings. While one peeper led to a painting viewable only through the hole in the wall, the majority lead into views of the installation (and some crude jokes, depending on the maturity level of your companions).
The show’s concept of voyeurism came about as this series began while Vanessa was considering the very relevant issue of personal privacy. Further, it touches upon the role of photography and social media in art, bringing into question what characteristics of her work will be communicated once they are released through the internet’s many social channels. To add an additional layer of intrigue, the show was curated by Fred Armisen, a somewhat surprising choice if you only know him from IFC’s Portlandia. However, Armisen wrote about Vanessa’s “Dreamland” show for Interview Magazine last year.
VOYEUR will be on view at The Hole in NYC through February 29th.