Richard Shone, The Burlington Magazine

Richard Shone, The Burlington Magazine
Friday, September 1, 2000

Richard Shone, The  Burlington Magazine

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In a brilliantly coherent gallery, Opie displays vinyl paintings and two dimensional free-standing 'sculptures' in his now customary language of succinct signage. The paintings are portrait heads, bathers, a reclining male nude, a landscape, a still life - the familiar genres of art history (some of which are still followed in the Tate's thematically hung permanent collection beyond this exhibition). The 'sculptures' are double sided rectilinear paintings of figures 'looking at' the works on the walls (and outnumbering, alas, the members of the public in the room on the day of this reviewers visit). Something of the wry humour that marked Opie's earliest work has been gradually returning and infuses an impressive investigation into how little we need to form our notions of representation, an artifice of sign-language that becomes proactive.