All together, “Girlfriends” shows Opie continuing to explore the hidden territories behind constructed facades. Looking at her pictures can be uncomfortable, not because of their confrontational content but because they reveal as much about the beholder as the beheld.
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I'm quite fond of this sweet, portraiture-driven exhibition. Opie's new body of work, portraits of friends and lovers of the 'butch-dyke' persona, is elevated by an array of square-format b&w prints from her archive, never before printed before now. The latter acts almost diary-like, recalling Opie's ties to the S&M community in LA and San Francisco from the early '90s, and some of its subjects (like the riveting Pig Pen) recur in the new series, nearly 15 years later. Among the portraits include a regal k.d. lang against a Canadian wilderness, Jenny Shimizu in leather on a pristine white-sheeted bed and Idexa, tattooed and barechested, crouching on a rock. But I kept going back to Pig Pen, from her almost waifish figure in '94, wearing a play-piercing 'crown of thorns' for a performance in Mexico City, to her tanned, mature figure in '09, a thorn-wrapped heart tattoo emblazoned on her chest. ( via )
“Girlfriends” is on view in New York City until 24 April 2010 at Gladstone Gallery, 515 West 24th Street.
More on this here and here.