Mass Cultural Council and the New Art Center (NAC) will present the Mass Cultural Council Artists Fellows and Finalists in Painting, October 28 – November 15, 2014 at the NAC, 61 Washington Park in Newtonville, MA (opening reception Thurs, Nov. 6, 6-8:30 PM). The installation will be curated by independent curator, FLUX.Boston creator, and NAC Board member Liz Devlin in collaboration with NAC Exhibitions Director Kathleen Smith Redman. Bob Oppenheim is one of the 15 painters that will be included in this exhibition. Let’s find out a little more about his work.
In 2003 I introduced sewing into my studio practice, a process that acted as a metaphor for loss and served as the perfect vehicle for conveying a feeling of transience, instability and uncertainty. Tearing, mending, destroying and repairing were all part of the process.
Needle marks scarred the surface and the stitches attached painted canvas, fabric and clothing to the ground. Sewing became the primary drawing tool. My sewing is crude: unrefined. A quilt maker who visited my studio told me that I do everything she tries not to do: so don’t ask me to hem a pair of pants.
As these paintings evolved dots emerged. They supported the linear structure, served as a means of attaching loose threads and acted as color notes which infused the paintings with a rhythmic structure. In some work holes in the canvas expose the panel and allow color to escape from the surface below.
The most recent work is conceptually cool and warm: they explore these contradictions. A field of color is constructed from layers of paint. The surface is modulated and cohabits with marks and a complex network of threads.
Most of my work is modest in scale. I want to develop a feeling of intimacy.
That sense of intimacy, brought to a level beyond my expectation was recently described by a person who recently purchased a very small painting. The owner carried it from one room to room much like a reliquary or icon. I love the unexpected.
Bob Oppenheim, 2014
Images courtesy Miller Yezerski Gallery. Photo credit: Will Howcroft. Bob Oppenheim’s paintings, from top to bottom: Flayed, 12″ x 9″, 2014; Levitas, 10″ x 8″, 2014; Scramble, 12″ x 12″, 2014; Twitter, 12″ x 12″, 2014; Whisper, 12″ x 9″, 2014.