Having made iconic images such as his sleeve for Blur’s The Best Of, as well as creating a Royal Mail stamp to mark the 2012 Olympics, his instantly recognisable images aim to portray someone’s personality in as little detail as possible.
A new show opening at London’s Lisson Gallery next month will be showing a series of these characteristically graphic, bold images; featuring a series of the walking figures that Opie has focused on of late.
Newer works mark a departure from the flat imagery he’s famous for, incorporating unknown passers-by captured on the streets of London. His anonymous subjects, with their individual idiosyncrasies and movements are frozen in time.
In these new works, Opie is also looking to classical sources, creating a series of painted busts. These were created through three-dimensional scanning, in which his sitters’ heads were scanned from various angles. The forms were then simplified and dipped in resin, before being hand painted to produce the final works.
The influence of sculpture is seen elsewhere, too, in a group of mosaic portraits. While the exhibition shows clear influences from 17th and 18th Century English, Dutch and French portraits, Opie’s more familiar references to modern day advertising and media remain.
In six video works, landscapes are animated on LCD screens, soundtracked by the sounds of nature and offering a glimpse of idyllic pastoral French vistas.
A highlight of the show looks set to be a huge LED sculpture of a galloping horse mounted on a plinth, in the gallery’s sculpture courtyard – so large that it’s visible form the streets around the gallery.
Julian Opie runs from 11 July – 25 August at Lisson Gallery, 52-54 Bell Street, London NW1