Conner Contemporary Art is pleased to introduce Catherine Opie’s recently released “O” portfolio in her first Washington, DC exhibition. This series of seven images comprises Opie’s first set of photogravures which is presented in a limited edition of 26 and housed in an embossed black cloth box .
Opie’s training in conceptual theory, classical photography and art history is a hallmark of her work. In her early Portrait photo documentary she employed the pictorial mode of 17th-century portraiture to capture the inherent dignity of members of the pierced and tattooed gay and lesbian community. In 1997 Opie received Citibank’s first Emerging Artist award for her photographs of the urban aesthetic of Los Angeles’s freeways and mini-malls. These works formed a solo exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Her Domestic series, shown earlier this year at Gorney, Bravin + Lee, New York, and Regen Project, Los Angeles, featured photographs of lesbians at home in which Opie underscored the social significance of art keeping pace with diverse family structures.
In the “O” portfolio Opie responds to artistic controversy of the past decade and articulates a female response to Robert Mapplethorpe’s “X” portfolio. Whereas Mapplethorpe presented a direct and, in some ways, alienating depiction of the male S&M scene, Opie approaches her female subjects in a more subtle manner fostering surprisingly tender, eloquent images which are aesthetically and thematically accessible to both homosexual and heterosexual viewers.
Works by John Kirchner will also be on view in concurrence with the Washington Sculpture Guild’s two-month promotional campaign. Kirchner combines artistic virtuosity with a philosophical approach to create works that are visually and intellectually engaging. With an intriguing selection of materials he constructs visual puns that challenge viewer’s perceptual expectations and fascinate the mind.
Catherine Opie’s “O” portfolio and John Kirchner’s sculptures will be on view at Conner Contemporary Art , 1730 Connecticut Avenue, NW – 2nd floor, Washington, DC ( Dupont Circle) through July 5, 2000.