b. 1961, USA

Catherine Opie Artworks

Initially inspired by the documentary work of Lewis Hine (1874–1940), who used his camera to expose the plight of child labourers, Catherine Opie has worked with a diverse range of communities including lesbian families, sadomasochists, football players and surfers. Despite the seeming disparity of these groups, Opie's oeuvre is cohesive in its effort to examine society's perception of the marginalised and foster a new sense of intimacy and community.

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Portraits

Throughout her career, Opie has frequently drawn from her immediate surroundings—including her family and friends—to respond to larger social discourses. Reacting against the homophobic campaigns of the 1990s led by US politician Jesse Helms, Opie depicted her gay and lesbian friends in Los Angeles in 'Being and Having' (1991) and 'Portraits' (1993–1997). Through vibrant colours and formal compositions that bring to mind historic painters like Hans Holbein, Opie has portrayed the otherwise denigrated members of the queer community as dignified individuals.

Self-Portraits

Of her numerous series, Opie is perhaps most remembered for her provocative self-portraits. Self-Portrait/Cutting (1993) and Self-Portrait/Pervert (1994), both exhibited at the 1995 Whitney Biennial, depict the artist at a time when she was involved in the leather community. In these photographs, Opie's torso appears naked and her face anonymous, turned away from the camera or hidden underneath a leather mask. Drawings cut into her skin accompany her body in both images: one of a lesbian couple and the other of the word 'Pervert'.

The two images express the artist's simultaneous desire for a family and her identity as a queer participant in sadomasochism. Opie's self-portraits were a callout to the larger gay community, who she felt undervalued the leather community. In her striking declaration of self, Opie demanded that society reconsider its perception of 'outsiders'.

Landscapes

Opie's exploration of contemporary Americanness encompasses landscapes, which has seen the artist photograph the horizon of Lake Michigan each season in Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer (Lake Michigan) (2004–5) and swamps in the American South.

In the large-scale My Shore (2022), presented at her solo exhibition To Your Shore From My Shore and Back Again at Lehmann Maupin Seoul in 2022, Opie brought together photographs of the sunrise and sunset she took in 2009 on a container ship from Korea to California. Presented in a row, without descriptions, the images could be portraits of the same waters, extending a sense of universality.

Browse Artworks
Justin Bond by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork print
Catherine Opie Justin Bond, 1993 C-print
40 x 30 inches
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Skeeter by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork print
Catherine Opie Skeeter, 1993 Chromogenic print
40 x 30 inches
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Robert Blanchon by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork print
Catherine Opie Robert Blanchon, 1996 Chromogenic print
40 x 30 inches
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
My Shore by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork print
Catherine Opie My Shore, 2022 Pigment print
37.5 x 50 inches
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Untitled #13 (From Your Shore to My Shore) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork print
Catherine Opie Untitled #13 (From Your Shore to My Shore), 2009 Pigment print
43 x 32.25 inches
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Our Moon by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork print
Catherine Opie Our Moon, 2021 Pigment print
33 x 50 inches
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Untitled #7 by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography, print
Catherine Opie Untitled #7, 2012 Pigment print
101.6 x 152.4 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Rocco by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography, print
Catherine Opie Rocco, 2012 Pigment print
127 x 97.5 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Untitled #1 (Swamps) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography, print
Catherine Opie Untitled #1 (Swamps), 2019 Pigment print
40 x 60 inches
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Untitled #2 (Swamps) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography, print
Catherine Opie Untitled #2 (Swamps), 2019 Pigment print
40 x 60 inches
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Untitled #3 (Swamps) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography, print
Catherine Opie Untitled #3 (Swamps), 2019 Pigment print
40 x 60 inches
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Untitled #4 (Political Collage) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork moving image
Catherine Opie Untitled #4 (Political Collage), 2019 Digital video on monitor
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Untitled #7 (Political Collage) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork moving image
Catherine Opie Untitled #7 (Political Collage), 2019 Digital video on monitor
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Untitled #8 (Political Collage) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork moving image
Catherine Opie Untitled #8 (Political Collage), 2019 Digital video on monitor
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Untitled #19 (1999) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography
Catherine Opie Untitled #19 (1999), 1999 C-print
40.6 x 50.8 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Mural Study #1 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography
Catherine Opie Mural Study #1 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
51.4 x 41.3 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Mural Study #3 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography
Catherine Opie Mural Study #3 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
51.4 x 41.3 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Mural Study #4 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography
Catherine Opie Mural Study #4 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
51.4 x 41.3 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Mirror #1 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography
Catherine Opie Mirror #1 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Mirror #2 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography
Catherine Opie Mirror #2 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Artist #2 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography
Catherine Opie Artist #2 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Artist #3 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography
Catherine Opie Artist #3 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Artist #1 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography
Catherine Opie Artist #1 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Sheats-Goldstein #3 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork photography
Catherine Opie Sheats-Goldstein #3 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
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