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Dutch Masters meet Google Street View

Excitement mounts for Julian Opie’s creative constitutional at Alan Cristea Gallery

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Dutch Masters meet Google Street View

Image: © Julian Opie. Courtesy Alan Cristea Gallery, London

February 05 2013
Nicole Swengley

Known and loved for blurring the boundaries between painting, portraiture and sculpture, Julian Opie’s award-winning work frequently combines the pedestrian with the highbrow; past works have drawn from influences as diverse as billboard signs, 18th-century portraits, popular comics and Japanese woodblock prints. Opie is also an arch-exponent of new techniques, which explains the mounting excitement about his upcoming solo show at Alan Cristea Gallery.

Blending a variety of extraordinary influences, from Google Street View to 17th-century Dutch landscape painting, the new original editions from his Winter series (£4,800 each; numbers 68, 32 and 50 pictured) were created using an innovative combination of drawing, photography and computer technology. Once completed, the digital prints were laminated on to glass and mounted on Plexiglas. Each 68cm x 121cm panel is in an edition of three, with an additional artist’s proof.

The 75 images match the number of steps taken during a circular constitutional on a bleakly beautiful winter’s day in the French countryside. The exhibition can be seen as an extension of Opie’s recent film Winter, and is accompanied by the film’s score, which was specially commissioned from the award-winning composer Paul Englishby and features vocals by the artist’s wife, Aniela.

With the gallery walls almost completely panelled in glass for this show, visitors will find themselves at the centre of what is both a rural scene and a highly polished structure. Viewed together, the panels correspond to each step of the way in Opie’s film. For the immersion averse, a flip-book (£15) illustrating all the landscapes will be available from www.alancristea.com/bookshop.php.