Catherine Opie, ‘Balloon Shades’, 2010-2011, George Eastman Museum

From the 700 Nimes Road Portfolio

About Catherine Opie

Catherine Opie raised eyebrows with her early 1990s studio portraits of gay, lesbian, and transgendered men and women associated with California’s sadomasochist leather subculture. Most jarring were two self-portraits showing self-inflicted wounds, respectively forming a child-like image of a house and two women holding hands (Cutting, 1993) and the word “pervert” carved into her skin (Pervert, 1994). For all the provocation, however, Opie’s work contains elements of documentary and classicism, and seeks empathy with its subjects. For instance, the 1995 marriage portraits she shot in homes across the country exposed the public to the poignancy of female domestic partnerships. The theme of inclusion versus exclusion runs throughout her ongoing exploration of communal, sexual, and cultural identities, which takes the form of cityscapes, landscapes, and even depictions of football games, along with her signature portraits.

American, b. 1961, Sandusky, Ohio, based in Los Angeles, California