Sugar & Spice
Susan Anderson, Amy Stevens, and Alex Prager
On view: May 2 – 28, 2008
Photographic Center Northwest is proud to present Sugar and Spice, an exhibition of color photographs by Susan Anderson, Amy Stevens and Alex Prager. These three artists, hailing from Los Angeles and Philadelphia, contribute their own visual perspectives on our society’s obsessive desire to dress up, decorate and dramatize. The subtle oddities and imperfections within reveal an inherent and unexpected beauty all its own.
Susan Anderson’s surreal documentary portrait series, High Glitz, is shot on location at several of our nation’s child beauty pageants. Setting up her studio amidst the colorful spectacle, she captures the young girls at the height of their performance. Hours of preparation are spent on each child’s appearance, her camera recording every detail. Children’s pageants are a fascinating subculture, but more than anything they represent a strange microcosm of America itself. Our own values of beauty, success and glamour reflected in the dreams of thousands of young girls… Anderson is a Los Angeles-based fine art, commercial and editorial photographer specializing in portraiture, beauty, fashion and conceptual/narrative work. After earning her BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, Anderson relocated to Los Angeles in 2001. Her editorial work has appeared in a variety of magazines including Los Angeles, Glamour and Playboy. Chronicle Books has commissioned her to illustrate their wildly successful series of humorous trade paperbacks, Porn for Women, and the sequel, Porn for New Moms. Her fine art photography is represented by Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles.
Amy Stevens’ Confections series started as a response to turning 30 with the idea that she would bake 30 cakes! She ordered a kit from Martha Stewart.com that included an instructional video. When she discovered her cakes were never going to look like the ones in the video she was free to make them as grotesque and amazing as possible-an act of rebellion. Stevens graduated with a BFA in Photography and a certificate in Women’s Studies from Arizona State University in 1998. In 2005 she earned her MFA in Photography from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. In 2007 she completed a two-year career development fellowship with The Center for Emerging Visual Artists and was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Independence Foundation. Her work has been included in numerous solo & group exhibitions in cities such as Albuquerque, Boston, Cleveland, Michigan, Montreal, Philadelphia & Portland.
In Polyester, Alex Prager’s cinematic approach is reminiscent of the mid 20th century angst and naivety that Hitchcock, John Waters, and David Lynch portrayed. Stories unfold with each photograph that stimulate the senses. Playful yet bizarre scenes are a balancing act between fantasy and reality. Prager has caught her heroines in a gauzy instant, the moment just before we could have seen them stepping into some glamorous but debauched intrigue. A native to Los Angeles, Alex Prager’s photography career began on the cusp of her teens. After holding down a slew of jobs in the private sector, from selling knives to washing cars, Prager, so inspired by the modern works of William Eggleston, decided to make the leap to full time photographer. At 22, Prager started shooting fashion editorials for high profile magazines such as Flaunt and V while simultaneously forging a path on the Los Angeles independent gallery circuit, hosting solo as well as group shows almost every other month. As her list of collectors grew, so did her list of clients: Geffen, Warner, I-D, Elle & Complex. Prager’s fine art photography is represented by Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica.