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Julian Opie

Book By Mary Horlock

©2004 Tate Publishing


This book presents the artwork of the artist Julian Opie. Looking at the development of his work from college years to the present. He takes and image or and idea makes work in series that spans between painting, sculpture, and film.  His art is filtered through the world and artifice of pop culture using a generic universal style and materials of everyday imagery while referencing art history.  He speaks of the importance for the viewer to feel that the work is recognizable. He wants the viewer to be reassured by the familiarity but at the same time trying to figure out what it is they’re looking at. He does this by creating a tension that plays with the idea of what we see and what we know. He uses modern technology of airport signage, logos, advertising, and shop fronts to create his own visual language to develop works that are familiar to the viewer.  The structure of various “signage” was fascinating to him. He questioned what was left without the message that the signs usually contained. That glossy veneer, the empty billboard had a lovely temporary, neutral quality. Some of his works sits between a possible functional object and an artwork. His three-dimensional works of painted steel, carved granite, assembled wooden boxes seem to focus on the surfaces. Condensing the imagery is his way of referencing the speed of our world today.  He spoke about using and taking advantage of the language of the space with commissions. This allows him to be very experimental in his artistic practice constantly pushing the boundaries by trying new material, methods of displaying his work, and ways of fabricating.

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