April 28 through July 21, 2002
CATHERINE OPIE: SKYWAYS & ICEHOUSES
|| Since the late
1980s, Catherine Opie's interest in the motif of the visual road trip has
resulted in photographic series that simultaneously document and question
personal and collective identities that characterize America. For the past
two winters, as the Walker's 2001 Visual Arts artist-in-residence, she has
focused on two specific architectural elements in and around the Twin Cities:
ice-fishing houses and skyways.
Working from the traditions
established by such master photographers as Eugene Atget, Edward Weston,
and Robert Frank, Opie is well versed in the medium's ability to reveal
those signs in the built environment that shape people's sense of belonging.
Her city series first focused on the hidden aesthetic language of Los
Angeles mini-malls and the architectural feats of freeway overpasses.
As a keen survey of history, her photographs of St. Louis, Missouri, address
the contrast between the city's aspirations for urban development once
envisioned in the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and the realization of urban
sprawl that has since displaced the downtown area. Her most recent works
about New York's Wall Street District, finished shortly before September
11, should also prove historic.
Opie's American cities series
explores the historical specificity of architectures that are often taken
for granted. Her take on the Twin Cities' vernacular landscape has resulted
in 26 panoramic black-and-white images of skyways as well as 14 large-format
color images of ice-fishing houses. As a photographic project, Catherine
Opie: Skyways & Icehouses provides a meditative portrait of this
particular locale. The catalogue accompanying the exhibition features
selected submissions by Minnesota residents who have had particular experiences
with and in these local icons. Their short essays animate Opie's empty
landscapes with personal anecdotes, memories, poems, and stories. These
writings are included on the Walker's Web site at www.walkerart.org/va/opie/.