The eleven rooms and six houses referenced in Opheim’s title allude to the eleven paintings and six sculptures the artist presents at Zevitas Marcus. Opheim’s paintings have always had a materially close relationship with sculpture: they begin as small clay creatures, which are then used as models from which to paint his larger-than-life, grotesquely soulful portraits. For the first time, Opheim’s paintings will be exhibited with accompanying sculpture, six anthropomorphic creatures made from the discarded clothes of friends and family.
“I am thinking about our stories and fables. The transformation and experiences of mine and others,” Opheim says of this exhibition. Here, transformation adds to the fable. Paintings that begin as sculpture are juxtaposed against sculpture that begin as someone’s clothing. Each piece embodies the weight of it’s own history, adding richness and depth to the eerie universe Opheim creates.
This universe is at once whimsical and deeply corporal. Lovingly painted beasts with colorful, play-doh-like skin confront the viewer with their googly eyes, multiple breasts, and various orfices. As Boston Globe critic Cate McQuaid put it, “The sheer scale of many of them intimidates. What would be cute at 6 inches tall becomes monstrous at human size. It’s hard for the mind to square adorable with confrontational… Opheim navigates the unruly thicket of themes blending childhood with adulthood – concepts that we ordinarily prefer to keep separate – to charming and unsettling effects.”
Opheim’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally for more than twenty years. He has recently presented solo exhibitions at The Columns Gallery in Seoul, South Korea, Boltax Gallery in New York, and Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston. His work has been featured in art fairs including VOLTA NY, ArtMRKT, and Miami Project. He is the recipient of a Pollack Krasner Foundation Grant. This is his first one-man exhibition at Zevitas Marcus.