NEW YORK, NY.- Gladstone Gallery
presents an exhibition of never before seen work by photographer Catherine Opie. Since garnering attention in the early 1990s for arresting portraiture of her friends and partners in the gay, lesbian, and trans leather community, Opies work has moved across genres to capture unique visions of the varied individuals and communities that comprise the diversity of American culture. Each time she approaches a new subject, be it California surfers or her recent body of work focusing on high school football teams, Opie creates photographs that are both beautiful and innovative visions and insightful portraits of the social contexts she explores.
Girlfriends combines brand new color photographs with a selection of black and white photographs from Opies archive that have never been printed. In this new series she explores the nature of butch-dyke identity through portraits including those of public figures such as k.d. lang and Eileen Myles as well as friends and partners who have appeared in her work throughout the years. In surveying the particular signifiers and discourses that shape desire, these works continually refer back to Opie herself who becomes as much of a subject constructed by the gaze as the individuals she depicts. The black and white photographs document a period spanning from the early 1990s until the present day. Made up of both carefully composed studio shots, as well as more impromptu moments, these works have a diaristic feel in which mementoes of desire become stilled with beautiful precision. Instead of nostalgia, these works capture the punctum of desire, encapsulated in a particular action or a physical detail. These two distinct aspects of the Girlfriends series coalesce to create a portrait of the photographer herselfan intimate view into the relationships and individuals that structure both affective and physical intimacy as a buttress of selfhood.
Catherine Opies work has been featured in acclaimed exhibitions in the United States and Europe. In 2008 her retrospective American Photographer opened at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Additionally, she has had solo exhibitions at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, The Saint Louis Art Museum, the Photographers Gallery in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Her work has appeared in numerous group exhibitions including the groundbreaking Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography at the Guggenheim in New York and the Whitney Biennials in 1995 and 2004. Her work is currently on view in Hard Targets at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.