Catherine Opie (American, b.1961) is acclaimed for her arresting portraits and landscapes, which examine notions of gender, sexuality, and the fabric of American communities in technically-refined works with rich color. Opie was born in Sandusky, OH, and attended the San Francisco Art Institute—later receiving her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. After moving to Los Angeles, she began photographing her friends, who frequently identified with typically “marginalized” groups—the queer community and the San Francisco S&M community, among them—in efforts to offer alternative and more authentic representations of such communities. Opie created a series of compelling self-portraits around the same time, picturing her own body covered in provocative words or queer imagery, painfully incised into her skin. In later works in the mid-1990s, Opie began examining formal aspects of photography in her abstracted images of landscapes, realizing the potential for landscape to act as a platform to examine the construction of communities throughout the United States. In her Domestic series, she drove across the country photographing lesbian households, providing a testament to families that went unnoticed to most of “mainstream” America. Opie has consistently made queer and gender politics central to her work, and has also photographed series revolving around health policy, AIDS, and other issues central to the queer community. She has also made recent series examining her role as a mother and a partner, photographing honest and intimate scenes from her everyday domestic life in In and Around Home. Opie has exhibited her work at the Whitney Biennial and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
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