Photography 2010 presents four artists— Roe Ethridge, Elad Lassry, Alex Prager, and Amanda Ross-Ho—whose photographs mine the inexhaustible reservoir of images found in print media and cinema. Ethridge takes his pictures in “editorial mode,” directly borrowing from commercial images already in circulation, including outtakes from his own illustrational magazine work. Lassry defines his practice as one consumed with pictures, meaning with generic images lifted from consumer society, such as Hollywood publicity stills and design illustrations. Ross-Ho’s hand-drilled sheetrock panels lined up with found pictures and mural-scale images of studio residues renegotiate the various stages of the creative process. Prager takes her cues from pulp fiction and the fashion images of Guy Bourdin to construct filmic narratives starring women disguised under synthetic wigs, dramatic makeup, and retro polyester attire. Infusing the seductive language of film and advertising with a touch of sly conceptualism, the artists included in New Photography 2010 explore the relationship between straight and constructed photograph, image and picture.
Alex Prager (American, born 1979), a self-taught photographer, takes her cues from pulp fiction, the cinematic conventions of movie directors such as Douglas Sirk and Alfred Hitchcock, and fashion photography. Resembling movie stills, her unnerving photographs—crisp, boldly colored, shot from unexpected angles, and dramatically lit—feature women disguised in wigs, dramatic makeup, and retro attire. Crowd # 1 (Stan Douglas), one in a series of pictures shot for the November 2010 issue of W magazine, makes its debut here. It draws on Stan Douglas’s Hastings Park, 16 July 1955 (2008), among other sources, but Prager has enlisted a new cast of characters, dressed in 1970s outfits (which she selected), and shot the scene in her own signature style. The exhibition also presents the United States première of Despair (2010), Prager’s first film, starring actress Bryce Dallas Howard. According to the artist, it is a “full-sensory version” of her photographs, an attempt “to show the before, now and after of one of my images.” The four-minute film, with a score by composer Ali Helnwein, is set in Los Angeles. It was inspired by The Red Shoes, a 1948 film about a prima ballerina whose obsession with dance conflicts with her need for love, ultimately leading to her suicide. Focusing on the actress’s face to capture one intense emotion, Prager engages in the construction of images that are intentionally loaded, reflecting her fascination with and understanding of cinematic melodrama.New