Self-Taught Painter Creates Monumental Portraits - Art Urbane };

by Olita Charlie

photo by Steve Hallock

article sourced from Creators, Vice written by Tanja M. Laden 

Self-Taught Painter Creates Monumental Portraits

Unless it's made to be seen online, art rendered in just about any medium needs to be appreciated in real life. Reading about an artist and viewing high-resolution images can be helpful, but let's be honest: most works are made to be engaged with physically, in order to truly be experienced. Take Vanessa Prager's dense, gravity-defying abstract paintings, for example. Throughout history, artists have aimed to infuse 2D images with dimensionality, but only since the 18th century has impasto, the technique of heavily applying paint so it extends from the canvas, become widely practiced. Prager's richly textured works on canvas are a rare contemporary example of this technique, and in her new solo show, Ultraviolet, she delivers paintings that are not only heavily-layered but are also self-portraits.

Up close and in person, Prager's works appear non-figurative, but step a few feet away, and a face materializes—Prager's own. It's a powerful departure for a woman used to working on a smaller scale and representing the world around her, rather than herself. It's also telling, given that her sister Alex Prager has achieved a measure of success as a photographer, challenging Prager to make a name for herself, too.

A native Angeleno, Prager works from a studio based in Boyle Heights, on the outskirts of Downtown LA. But the nature of her own arts education differs from that of many of her contemporaries. Rather than attend a prestigious arts college, she opted to learn about art online—an interesting choice, given that her work is so palpable.

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Olita Charlie
Olita Charlie

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Always seeking bold individuals acting on profound, creative ideas




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