+CV  

Peter Opheim

 

Lovingly painted creatures with colorful, play-doh-like skin confront the viewer with bulging eyes, disjointed body parts and various, sometimes misplaced, orifices.

Peter Opheim’s oil paintings are windows into a world unlike any other, one populated by the unconventional and provocative juxtaposition of a childlike imagination with adult thoughts and emotions.

Grew up in Minnesota and received his BA degree from St. Olaf College, Opheim believed that his ability to create art would be best served by a broader intellectual base. He spent a semester in Thailand before graduating and spent many of his post-college years travelling throughout the world.

After 25 years of acclaim as an abstract painter, Opheim experienced an epiphanous shift in his approach to his art in 2011. “I didn’t want to paint things that had already been painted; I wanted to paint things that I hadn’t seen before, things that didn’t exist except in my imagination,” he said, leading him to an extraordinary dual process.

His ongoing body of work is a complex amalgamation of portraiture and still-life. For Opheim, it is important that his work have a real world referent, and to this end, he renders tiny clay models that are at once daring and amusing, thought-provoking and boundary-pushing before beginning a painting. The “subjects” are an ever expanding family of grotesquely soulful creatures, then transposes his characters onto canvasses so large as to be life size.

Often seeming to sculpt rather than to paint, Peter Opheim creates large-scale paintings characterized by their thick, incredibly tactile surfaces. Opheim’s artistic process is quite detailed, as he describes, “I like to think of them as paintings on top of paintings on top of paintings. An accumulation of different marks, lines, colors and forms, but also themes and temperaments, that creates an imagined space and a form of history.” His work is heavily layered and thick with paint. Amidst the tension of colors and non-objective marks, a graceful serenity holds in the balance. Working with palette knifes, brushes, 20 colors of paint, Opheim works the surface of his paintings layer by layer, building up and scraping away. The final surface not only shimmers with vibrant hues but also projects a multidimensional vision that bridges the gap between the painterly and the sculptural, and with his masterful use of color,

the viewer is challenged to explore his subjects on both intellectual and emotional levels. “How a color looks is very different from how a color feels, so in my chosen medium I try to evoke that sensory distinction,” said Opheim.

Peter Opheim, who splits his time between Taos and New York City, has been featured in over 50 prestigious national and international exhibitions since 1994. In 1995, he was awarded the Pollock/Krasner Foundation Grant and received the Artist's Award from the Friends of Contemporary Art of the Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1996. His work has been included in important corporate collections such as Hallmark, Northwest Airlines, and the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, and is in the permanent collection of several museums in the United States and South Korea. This is the first time his work being shown to Taiwanese people.

His ongoing body of work is a complex amalgamation of portraiture and still-life. For Opheim, it is important that his work have a real world referent, and to this end, he renders tiny clay models that are at once daring and amusing, thought-provoking and boundary-pushing before beginning a painting. The “subjects” are an ever expanding family of grotesquely soulful creatures, then transposes his characters onto canvasses so large as to be life size.