los-angeles

Heather Cantrell

Kinkead Contemporary

For eight weeks last summer, Heather Cantrell’s “A Study in Portraiture: Act I” transformed part of Kinkead Contemporary into a functioning portrait studio equipped with a stockpile of costumes and props: painted backdrops, animal skins, cardboard cutouts of wolves and snakes, silk flowers, hats, masks, and household objects. And during the exhibition’s run, Cantrell held a series of public photo shoots, to which she invited a subsection of the Los Angeles art community. With her input, participants could choose accoutrements and a backdrop. (For some special individuals, the artist made her own nude body available for placement in the scene.) After arranging the sitter in a bizarre pose, Cantrell took two black-and-white images in quick succession with a 4 x 5 camera: One, a negative, went to the artist’s archives; the other, a Polaroid, was added to an accumulating display on the gallery’s

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