Last weekend at Los Angeles’ Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Lezley Saar inaugurated her solo show, “Madwoman in the Attic.” A visual exploration of 19th-century literature, Saar’s newest paintings and assemblages deal with the Victorian era’s obsession with classifying woman as hysterical, melancholic or insane. Her surreal portraits of famous literary heroines, such as Anna Karenina, for instance, show the women in states of reverie, haunted by ghostly images in the collaged photographs or constrained by root-like growths. The objects in the surrounding assemblages, such as the figures of saints and deadly-looking syringes, allude to the Victorian era’s methods of regulating female behavior deemed inappropriate by society. Despite these intellectual underpinnings, Saar’s work remains accessible with its use of familiar visual language, taking from both 19th-century portraiture and surrealism. Take a look at some opening night photos from theonepointeight.