John Opera
American, born 1975, Buffalo, NY
Stacks Image 30664
Stacks Image 4843
Untitled, 2016
Untitled (portrait), beet anthotype on paper in artist frame, 21 x 17 inches
Radial Composition (blueberry), cyanotype and blueberry emulsion on stretched linen in artist frame, 33 x 26 inches
Radial Composition (beet), cyanotype and beet emulsion on stretched linen in artist frame, 46 x 36 inches
 
Untitled II, 2016
Untitled (portrait), blueberry anthotype on arches paper in artist frame, 21 x 17 inches
Radial Composition (beet), cyanotype and beet emulsion on stretched linen in artist frame, 33 x 26 inches
Radial Composition (blueberry), cyanotype and blueberry emulsion on stretched linen in artist frame, 46 x 36 inches

Courtesy of the artist

Somewhere between painting and photography, John Opera’s anthotypes rely on the photosensitive properties of organic material—in this case, blueberries and beets—to make photograms. While comparatively stable, the colors will slowly shift as the light that created the image continues to act on it. Exhibited here with cyanotypes on linen colored with the same emulsions, both the portraits and Radial Compositions emphasize the flatness of the surface, much like abstract painting. As a record of light and a recreation of photosynthesis, however, Opera’s work is also a profound investigation of the natural, pre-existing conditions of photography.