Regen Projects is pleased to announce "Highschool Football" an
exhibition of new photographs by Catherine Opie. Like her surfer
series, this new body of work will feature large-scale landscapes as
well as portraits. In this series Opie shifts her gaze to the culture
of American masculinity and the passage from adolescence into manhood.
These works were photographed in a variety of locales throughout the
country including Louisiana, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Alaska.
The Football series continues Opie's exploration of documentary photography and the notion of community and how communities are formed and identified. No matter where you go in America, you will find a football field and the culture that surrounds this practice is always the same and transcends boundaries of location. This is a truly universal American male practice. The portraits in the Football series examine representations of gender, specifically masculinity. These seductive works have an arresting presence that completely infiltrates the eye and psyche of the viewer. We are presented with images of high school aged boys on the verge of manhood. These portraits document the self-constructed identities of people and the places they live, taking the universal identity found in the landscape photos into a more regional realm.
Catherine Opie's work is an ongoing investigation into the identity of contemporary America and its cities, communities, and people. The structure of urban and suburban space and how communities begin to form and the identities that surround these communities is the connective tissue found within her work. Opie's work has always investigated the figure in relation to the landscape – she is an expert in both portrait and landscape and her work disregards the polarities typically found within these approaches. Opie's work offers reflection upon the authority vested in photography to communicate specific group parameters within a society and conversely how images amplify human individualization.
"Opie may indeed employ a relatively accessible, even conventional, method of photography to map individuals in relation to broader social codes, but, conversely, her pictures also indicate how such codes have been re-appropriated and reformulated by the individual…Opie's various photographic series of the past decade are linked together by a conceptual framework organized around the notion of cultural portraiture. Here, the identities, meanings and ontological gravity of people, places and edifices are indexed on the surface, and excavated from beneath the surface"
(Joshua Decter. "Between Observation and Engagement: Opie as Interlocutor, Picturing Lives" in Catherine Opie, published by The Photographers Gallery, London, 2001, p. 52)
Catherine Opie's work has been the subject of exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. Recent solo exhibitions include the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis; Photographers' Gallery, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Opening in September 2008 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will be a mid-career survey on Opie's work. A monograph will be published on the occasion of that exhibition.