Roodgallery is pleased to present Wunderkammer , a selection of paintings and sculptures by artist Peter Opheim.
Wunderkammer uses the gallery’s unconventional space to transform into a fictional cabinets de curiosités incorporating Peter Opheim’s monumental oil paintings with corresponding figurative sculptures, presented within custom, handmade wooden vitrines. Reminiscent of a toy shop or fun-house, Opheim presents his colorful “life size” paintings along with a new series of smaller works and small sculptures.
Beginning as small marquette's made from colored clay, figures are transferred into larger-than-life oil paintings featuring lovingly painted creatures with radiant, bulging features, disjointed body parts and various skewed orifices . Like characters from a children’s claymation cartoon, the paintings uncannily capture the textures of the 3-D objects. Although seemingly childlike, these subjects take on a more mature existence. Merging childhood and adulthood – concepts that we ordinarily prefer to keep separate – they evoke unsettling effects. While charming and whimsical from afar, they shatter any idea of fantastical nostalgia with subjects that are grotesque and mutated upon further inspection.
Modern “wunderkammer” tends to categorize objects included as belonging to natural history, geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art and antiquities. Deemed a microcosm or theater of the world, Opheims figurines become a study of a fictional people, their relics and history. He describes them as a fantastical “population” or race, having their own personalities, going about their daily lives, positioning them doing everyday tasks, and in some cases, even having sex. Creating these imaginary characters in a meditative way, none of these subjects is created from anything referential, never planned, and never functional. He compares his characters to mythology, where creatures are composed in a very functional way for their use in the story. Opheim see’s his figures as the opposite.
Peter Opheim (b. 1961, Landstuhl, Germany) is a Brooklyn-based artist, known for his large-scale oil paintings of fantastical creatures. Opheim received his B.A. from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. Opheim has exhibited his work in galleries across the US, Canada and Asia and was awarded the Pollock/Krasner Foundation Grant. His work has been included in 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.