FEMALE ARTISTS TO WATCH
Vanessa Prager, Night Gaze, 2015, oil on panel
Vanessa Prager is a self-taught artist whose current work is dreamlike, illusionistic and borders on the abstract. Her thick, sculptural figures are reminiscent of both classic impressionism and Magic Eye posters. Her layered brushstrokes result in a sculptured-painting effect where the paint seems to melt and fade out, but the longer you look at the work, the faces and figures begin to emerge on the canvas. Prager says, "I made this series to tell stories, and as with any story, you need to zoom in to get the details and zoom out to grasp the larger thematic concerns."
Vanessa Prager, Mud, 2015, oil on panel
Perhaps because Prager did not attend college, she has no set process in her art-making. She tends to work in waves, setting aside chunks of time to focus on her art and chunks of time to put the art away and focus on herself, letting ideas ruminate. She usually sits down with a general concept of what she wants to create, but often throws that outline away when the paint brushes come out, allowing her concept to evolve and change. She sees the subjects of her portraits involved in their own creation, with their own desires and curiosities about the world they inhabit.
Vanessa Prager, Grey Moon, 2015, oil on panel
Randi Russo is a visual artist and musician who currently resides and works in Chicago. In her work, she seeks a balance of boldness with subtlety, playfulness with weight, abstraction with hints of representation. Her paintings hold in them a place where inner space meets outer space. There is a suggestion of other universes, as if seen through a telescopic lens. During the process of painting, a challenge is often presented - how much to indulge in the depiction of life and how much to pull back to allow more interpretation.
Randi Russo, Industrial Pastures of the Present, 2015
Constant movement is carried out by a lyrical line which is then followed by more defined shapes, often alluding to mid-century explorations of the 1940s and 1950s. There is an implicit tension between femininity and masculinity that is exhibited in Russo's choice of color, line and shape. With watercolor, pencil and acrylic paint, she delves into these complex worlds.
Randi Russo, When We Were Young, 2015
Russo studied painting at Washington University in St. Louis and psychology at New York University. As a native New Yorker, she spent much of her time making a name for herself as a musician after graduating NYU. She has opened for many well-known acts and been featured on high-profile compilations. After extensive touring and three album releases, Randi decided to leave NYC and venture to Chicago to pursue her painting, using her musical experience as a source of artistic inspiration.
Since the early 1990s, Diana Thater has created pioneering film, video, and installation-based works. Her primary emphasis is on the tension between the natural environment and mediated reality. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, including literature, animal behavior, mathematics, chess, and sociology, her evocative and sometimes near-abstract works interact with their surroundings to create an intricate relationship between time-based and spatial dimensions. She frequently transforms the exhibition venue into a hybrid space between sculpture and architecture, using color and light alongside her installations.
Diana Thater, Life is a Time Based Medium, 2015 , Three video projectors, one Watch-Out system, one media player
Diana Thater, Science, Fiction (Two), 2015, Installation of two video projectors, media player and lights
Thater's recent works are currently on view at the San Jose Museum of Art in California as part of the museum's Beta Space exhibition series (through September 13, 2015). In the fall of 2015, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will host a mid-career survey of Thater's work, which will coincide with an installation at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado.
Over three decades Jacqueline Humphries has committed to abstraction at its extreme. In the mid-2000s she began experimenting with reflective silver paint on canvas, a characteristic that has since become a signature of her work. Humphries's iridescent surfaces create an unsettling relationship between the viewer and the painting, constantly shifting according to movement and time. Registering the colors and tones of their surroundings, the paintings present a mysterious play of shadows and light, suggestion and intimation.
Jacqueline Humphries, O, 2015 oil on linen
She has noted that one of her objectives is to make a work that never feels complete to a viewer. Humphries's mark-making techniques serve her preference for the image to remain unresolved-she applies pigments one on top of another and then scrapes them away to reveal an enigmatic, layered picture plane. Describing her process, Humphries has said, "I start a painting by finishing it, then may proceed to unfinish it, make holes in it or undo it in various ways, as a kind of escape from that finitude."
Jacqueline Humphries, :), 2015, oil on linen
Humphries lives and works in New York City. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Tate Modern, London; Albright-Knox Art Gallery; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Smithsonian Institution, D.C.