Alex Prager is a self-taught artist whose intriguing photographs feature women dressed as starlets and femme fatales, embroiled in cinematic melodramas. Growing up in LA, the artist was immersed in an environment that embraced ideas of glamour and celebrity culture. While each photograph in the series Week-End (2010) tells its own story, together these images come across as film stills from tantalizingly incomplete narratives. Her enigmatic tableaus are reminiscent of a classic Hollywood era, with their supersaturated and enhanced colours, dramatic lighting, unexpected camera angles, and archetypal representations of beauty.
Prager’s signature style is influenced by fashion photography inasmuch as it draws upon films by Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, and Douglas Sirk. For the artist, “a picture is a picture,” and it is irrelevant whether these images were produced for a gallery wall or for a fashion magazine. If anything, editorial shoots enable her to realize more ambitious projects that would otherwise be difficult to realize.
Surrounding a car dealership and autobody shop, this site-specific installation also evokes nostalgia for a time when film screenings could be enjoyed at the drive-in theatre. Presented as billboards, these seven images reveal the artist’s interest in advertising tropes, in the way they lure the viewer into make believe-worlds. Much like a fashion advertising campaign, her seductive photography heavily relies upon artifice and fabricated promises of happiness. By working with makeup, costumes, and poses–caked lipstick, fake eyelashes, wigs, and demure blank stares–Prager celebrates the trappings of femininity, to the extent that she makes it uneasy for the viewer to see beyond these constructed facades. Within each of these scenes there is an air of mystery present, as if the answer lurks just outside of the picture frame.
Presented in partnership with Pattison Outdoor Advertising and Nikon Canada