Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery is pleased to present, Soft Serve, an exhibition of new oil paintings by American artist Vanessa Prager, October 12 through November 11, 2018. The series is an evolution of Prager’s acclaimed impasto work, exploring the female form, sexuality and voyeurism through fleshy, thick daubs, where women recline either alone or in small groups. It is the artist’s first solo exhibition in London.
Referencing images from art history, often figures of women under the male gaze, Prager has established her unique practice with an approach rooted in both agility and acute detail. In earlier works, such as the series Dreamers, (2015), Prager’s work appeared abstract up close, while distance between viewer and canvas revealed faces—ostensibly the artist’s own. In newer works, as evident in In the Pink, (2018), conceptual shapes take more solid forms, presenting an illuminated pastoral tableau—a twisted dejeuner sur l’herbe.
Now, in Soft Serve, Prager carves out a series of more concrete figures—melting realities, oozing with sculptural paint on brightly colored backgrounds: dripping red lips, chunky skin and thick spidery eyelashes, where brushstrokes evoke the tradition of the nude female au plein air. Here the women Prager paints come sharply into focus, daring bare skin, yet intangible and out of reach in their hazy world.
Prager is represented by The Hole, New York, and Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles. Most recently, in a collaboration with her sister, artist Alex Prager, featuring Maya Rudolph, her work was featured on the cover of New York Times Magazine (September 2018). Prager’s participation in group museum exhibitions includes the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Her work has received critical praise from international press including W Magazine, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Elle, Flaunt, Angeleno Magazine, Interview, Huffington Post, LA Weekly and Nylon.
Vanessa Prager (b. 1984) is an American artist, born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Known mainly for her large-scale, abstract oil paintings, Prager's main subject is the female figure. Thick, loose, heavily impastoed bodies melt in and out of their form and what we consider beauty and identity is often a central theme to her work. Recent solo shows include In The Pink, The Hole, NYC (2018) and Ultraviolet, Richard Heller Gallery, LA (2017), while group shows include Extra, The Hole, NYC and How They Ran, Over the Influence, LA (both 2018).