Peter Opheim: Fables of the Eleven Rooms and Six Houses

On View: May 5 - June 25, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 5 - 8pm

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Peter Opheim,   Fables of the Eleven Rooms and Six Houses,  Installation, 2016

Peter Opheim, Fables of the Eleven Rooms and Six Houses, Installation, 2016

The eleven rooms and six houses referenced in Opheim’s title allude to the eleven paintings and six sculptures the artist is presenting at Zevitas Marcus. While Opheim’s current painting practice has a direct relationship with sculpture this is the first time that he has exhibited three-dimensional work. The six intricately constructed sculptures on view are made from the discarded clothes of friends and family. 

In 2011, Opheim abandoned abstraction in favor of imagery. The ongoing body of work that has resulted 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 before beginning a painting. His “subjects” most often end up being painted large-scale. They are an ever expanding family of grotesquely soulful creatures. 

Transformation is a key concept for Opheim. As he states, “With this exhibition I am thinking about our stories and fables… the transformation and experiences of mine and others.” In a very real sense, transformation augments the fables. 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 personal universe Opheim creates.

 This universe is at once whimsical and deeply corporal. Lovingly painted creatures with colorful, play-doh-like skin confront the viewer with bulging eyes, disjointed body parts, and various, sometimes misplaced, orifices. As Boston Globe critic Cate McQuaid observed, “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 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 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. This is his first one-man exhibition at Zevitas Marcus.  

The artist will be in attendance for an opening reception on Saturday, May 7 from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM. For additional information, please contact Richard Marcus at 424.298.8088. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM.