Catherine Opie’s large-scaled photographs of people and places have drawn international attention for their formal clarity and psychological charge. Her one-person exhibition at ArtPace showcases works from two recent bodies of work: the Houses and the Domestics. In the Houses (1995-96), Opie focuses her camera on the stylized facades of Southern California homes. Tightly framed, Opie’s prints draw attention to the theatrical architecture of many Beverly Hills homes. Isolated and isolating (with doors sealed and security signs visible) Opie’s houses suggest tension, rather than comfort.
Conversely, in the Domestics, Opie brings her camera, and the viewer, indoors. Here she photographs personal scenes of domestic life, particularly, the lives of lesbian families. Photographed with their partners, their children, and their friends, Opie’s subjects are engaged in the emotions and activities of everyday life. Unlike the artist’s previous portraits, in which subjects were posed against color backdrops, the Domestics suggest candid views of home life.