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4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life Ocula Report 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life 15 Feb 2019 : Natalie King for Ocula

'Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.' Marlene Dumas' poetic and sensual refrain accompanies her figurative watercolours on view in Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) in the southern state of Kerala, India (12 December 2018–29 March 2019).Dumas' new series...

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Ellen Altfest Ocula Conversation Ellen Altfest

The paintings of Ellen Altfest are ethereal in their detail. Fields of minutiae come together as pulsating images; small brushstrokes of oil paint accumulate over a series of months to single out seemingly innocuous subjects, such as a hand resting atop patterned fabric (The Hand, 2011) or a deep green cactus reaching upwards from beneath a bed of...

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Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance Ocula Report Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance 8 Feb 2019 : Nada Raza for Ocula

On the rooftop of the former Rio Hotel complex in Colombo, it was hard to ignore the high-rise buildings, still under construction, blocking all but a sliver of what used to be an open view over Slave Island, once an island on Beira Lake that housed slaves in the 19th century, and now a downtown suburb. The hotel was set alight during the...

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Related Press

Photographer Catherine Opie On Portraits And Politics

Liam Freeman Vogue First published on 3 October 2017

© Catherine Opie, Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Thomas Gane Gallery, London.

In 2011, after visiting a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at London's National Gallery, the American fine art photographer Catherine Opie conceived the idea of shooting a series of portraits and landscapes inspired by the Old Masters. Last night, for her first show with Thomas Dane Gallery in London, a new chapter in this series was unveiled. Opie chose friends and people in her creative sphere as subjects, including artists (Anish Kapoor, David Hockney, Gillian Wearing and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye); fashion designers (Duro Olowu and Rick Owens), the writer Jonathan Franzen and the curator Thelma Golden – photographed against the same black background, and lit in such a way that they glow like embers, allowing each one's individuality to speak for itself.

'I've never had any interest in recreating existing works,' Opie explains in her soothing contralto. 'What I find enticing about Old Masters is the allegory they create of the world at the time they were painted.' As one of the greatest living documentarians of the American landscape, sociopolitically as well as literally, Opie's images capture our zeitgeist the same way that Walker Evans' encapsulated the effects of the Great Depression, or Ansel Adams eternalised the breathtaking beauty of the threatened natural world through his studies of Yosemite National Park.

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