Known for her gently surreal portraits based on high-fashion photography, in her first solo exhibition, Stephanie Pryor: Domina
, the young painter gives a new depth to the notion of "retro," choosing as her subjects the equally fashion-forward and seductive courtesans and liberated women of 16th-century Venice. Her deft use of watery acrylic washes give her portraits a dreamy intensity and a looseness that borders on abstraction, but the curvaceous lines and aspects of archetypal beauty that inspire her keep the images firmly rooted in classic portraiture. When you think about it, the courtly portraits of lovely women of centuries ago and the couture stories in today's glossies really are not all that different. Both do their part to project the ultimate expressions of their society's ideas of female physical perfection; both convey status and power through clothing; and both are designed to seduce the viewer into coveting the portrayed. Whether you wish to become or possess them, these are paintings you just gotta have. Marine Contemporary, 1733-A Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. Sat., Oct. 22, 6-9 p.m.;exhibits runs Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., thru Nov. 26; free. 310-399-0294. marinecontemporary.com.
Sat., Oct. 22, 6-9 p.m.; Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Starts: Oct. 22. Continues through Nov. 26, 2011