Opheim navigates the unruly thicket of themes blending childhood with adulthood – concepts that we ordinarily prefer to keep separate – to unsettling effects, as Boston Globe critic Cate McQuaid observed.
Peter Opheim is an American artist, born in 1961, in Landstuhl, Germany. He lives and works in New York City, New York and in San Cristobal, New Mexico. His ongoing body of work contains large-sized paintings and threedimensional works. It is a complex amalgamation of portraiture and still-life. For Opheim, it is important that his work has a real world referent, and to this end, he renders tiny clay models before beginning a painting. In 2011 he discovered abstraction and began forming these models and translating them into large-sized oil paintings. The “subjects” are an ever expanding family of grotesquely soulful creatures.
Lovingly painted creatures with colorful, play-doh-like skin confront the viewer with bulging eyes, disjointed body parts and various, sometimes misplaced, orifices. They evoke a childish sentimentality and associations with cuddly toys.
Opheim’s work has been shown both nationally and internationally and is in many public and private collections. Most recently he has had solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, at Zevitas/Marcus Gallery, in Seoul, Korea at the Columns Gallery, in Miami at Now Contemporary Art, in Boston, at Steven Zevitas Gallery, and in New York City at VOLTA NY, with the Steven Zevitas Gallery.
In this new exhibition he presents a series of 11 large-sized paintings next to six threedimensional works. These works express a childish essence as well. But what differentiates them from the previous works, is the fact that they go beyond every idea of nostalgia or hullabaloo that the manifest illustrates as grotesque and convertible.