Alex Prager, “Compulsion” at Yancey Richardson Gallery

[…] a small, quaint house burns in an epic blaze, yet the bright, peaceful landscape which surrounds it is mysteriously undisturbed.

poster for Alex Prager

Alex Prager "Compulsion"

at Yancey Richardson Gallery
in the Chelsea 22nd area
This event has ended - (2012-04-05 - 2012-05-19)

In Reviews by Loren DiBlasi 2012-05-14 print

If compulsion is the irresistible impulse to act, nobody has told Alex Prager. The title of the L.A. based photgrapher’s latest exhibition may be Compulsion, but as usual with Prager’s work, there is a tension, ambiguity stillness that will keep the viewer guessing.

4:01pm, Sun Valley and Eye # 3 (House Fire), from the series Compulsion, 2012.

Compulsion moves in time like a foggy dream. You’re not quite sure where you are, or what exactly is happening, but somehow, it all feels like a strange journey that you are more than willing to take. The exhibition features not only photographs from the series, which range in size from small and intimate to epically large, but also film stills from Prager’s newest short film, La Petite Mort, starring French actress Judith Godrèche. Prager has often incorporated actors and film into her work, all of which is already undeniably cinematic; Compulsion is no exception. Filled to the brim with emotion, these captured moments of intense drama read like a story board.

And while there’s no telling exactly what that story is, we can tell that it is a new one for Prager; her usual bright colors are (for the most part) muted down, creating scenes set in a lonely prairie, atop a telephone wire in a darkening sky, even underwater. It’s pure Americana mixed with a hefty dose of Surreal. In 4:01pm, Sun Valley and Eye # 3 (House Fire), a small, quaint house burns in an epic blaze, yet the bright, peaceful landscape which surrounds it is mysteriously undisturbed. Right beside it, a close-up shot of a man’s earnest, determined gaze– highlighting only one eye– watches acutely. In fact, eyes are a recurring element throughout Compulsion as smaller photographs that accompany the larger ones. It is unsure to whom the eyes belong– perhaps to the vague and varied collection of protagonists, or other people entirely– but whoever they are, they’re watching us.

A stirring mix of beauty, nature, and the bizarre, Compulsion is a can’t-miss show that will run until May 19 at Yancey Richardson Gallery.

Loren DiBlasi

Loren DiBlasi. Loren DiBlasi is a freelance writer/art and culture aficionado. Born in NYC, she is a recent graduate of Marymount Manhattan College as a double major in English and Art History. In addition to art of all shapes and sizes, she is also passionate about music, film, and fashion-- and writes about it all. She can be contacted at lorendiblasi@gmail.com. » See other writings

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