Judith Eisler, Dorothy 3, 2014

Dorothy 3, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Sarah Gavlak gallery.

This Oscar Sunday, like any before it, will honor performances involving a towering scene, a chewy monologue, a ghastly physical transformation. But there will also be less showy roles that accumulate, slowly but surely, a body of minute inflections and barely perceptible tugs of the mouth. (See: Patricia Arquette, Marion Cotillard.) In her new solo exhibition at Sarah Gavlak gallery in Los Angeles, the painter Judith Eisler freezes such small moments on canvas. Even in high melodrama—such as Douglas Sirk’s 1958 aviation romance Tarnished Angels, from which these stills of star Dorothy Malone were borrowed—there are a few frames that sell an entire story.

“Close-Ups & Two Shots: Judith Eisler” runs through April 4, 2015 at Gavlak Los Angeles, 1034 N. Highland Ave.