PETER OPHEIM - A LOOK BACK AT HIT UK DEBUT SOLO SHOW 'SHIPWRECK'
On the 19th November we presented Shipwreck, a solo exhibition of new oil and watercolor paintings by Peter Opheim. Known for his large-scale renderings of imaginative and richly colored creatures, Shipwreck showcased 43 recent works in Opheim's signature style with a fresh emphasis on narrative elements that cohere the pieces together and open new avenues in his practice. For the exhibition, the gallery was transformed into an overgrown, supernaturally lit terrain inspired by the scene depicted in the painting the exhibition takes its name from.
Install photo - D'Stassi Art: Peter Opheim's 'Shipwreck'
“The paintings that I created for the exhibition “Shipwreck” were specifically made to be shown there. Although I did consider European history, culture and what I feel as their shared humanity, I did the paintings not necessarily be specific to the location nor about the past, but to present itself as more of an antidote to the future that addresses us all.” says Opheim
The titular painting Shipwreck depicts a mythical crew of Opheim’s characters thrown from a broken ship; their journey is disrupted, their fate uncertain, yet they appear composed and confident in their ability to calm the chaos. Serving as a jumping off point for the exhibition, this collection of work tells a story of navigating a foreign land, unexpected challenges, and a cast of characters including cannibals, saints, time travelers, and even a fire crew. The otherworldly aura created by Opheim’s dynamic works was the perfect setting for an unforgettable evening - with art lovers coming from all corners of London to see the new pieces. Alongside the exhibition itself, Opheim presented a visual book that told the story of the Shipwreck in a little more detail.
Peter Opheim with 'Shipwreck' for ODDA Magazine
“Also new to this body of work was the development of a more defined narrative and the expansion of the exhibition into a visual book. So, it was informative, heartfelt and wonderful to see the work installed there and to have the numerous conservations about the work that I did have. I am especially thankful to the gallery for their efforts and for bringing a new audience to the work.” - Peter Opheim
The titles of the pieces occasionally situate and often personalize Opheim's surreal characters, with recognizable names like "Addison," "Colby," and "Landon," or by alluding to broader themes of life and loss, such as "Saint (Those We Love Become Us)." In this way, the characters act as mirrors for internal reflection and personal interpretation, depicting a range of emotions that exist simultaneously within us. By presenting characters that are familiar enough to be relatable, yet new enough to feel fresh and intriguing, Opheim's figures probe our personal and political intricacies. As with the works themselves, the launch event provided an ethereal break from the run up to the end of the year. Another successful exhibition capped off an already impressive year for the new gallery - proving it really is a new creative hub in East London.
The D'Stassi Art team.