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'Catherine Opie: In & Around L.A.' opens at Hollywood gallery

February 16, 2013|By Lisa Boone
  • "House #3 (Beverly Hills)," 1995, by Catherine Opie
"House #3 (Beverly Hills)," 1995, by Catherine Opie (Catherine Opie / Regen Projects )

Catherine Opie has made art from the interplay between architecture and urban life in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. Some of her most memorable images have been quiet, nondescript moments -- the underbelly of L.A. freeway overpasses or the gated facade of a home in Bel-Air.

The new exhibition "Catherine Opie: In & Around L.A.," presented by the Julius Shulman Institute of Woodbury University, opens Saturday at Woodbury University Hollywood Gallery. The show at WUHO, as it's known, features work from five series: "Freeways" (1994-­95), "Houses" (1995-­96), "Landscapes" (1996), "In and Around Home" (2004-­05) and "Shopkeepers" (2011), which has its Los Angeles premiere.

"Cathy has always been beloved of architects," said architect Barbara Bestor, executive director of the Julius Shulman Institute. "Her idea of portraying America through people and buildings expands the way we feel about architecture and the built environment."

Bestor said the imagery of a new breed of photographers such as Iwan Baan and Opie, the 2013 recipient of the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award, is more complex and in some ways less iconic than the images of Shulman, the noted architectural photographer.

"The imagery is intentionally more complex in a less 'Mad Men' kind of way," Bestor said. "These photographers are trying to show the bodegas on the corner. Photographing environments is part of her practice and it's part of her larger agenda to reflect back to America through her eyes." 

The Opie exhibition runs through March 24. A public reception for Opie is scheduled for March 2.

lisa.boone@latimes.com

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