John Opera

Opening: Friday, Jun 7, 2019 5 – 8 pm
Friday, Jun 7 – Jul 27, 2019
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1709 W. Chicago
Chicago, IL 60622

DOCUMENT is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by John Opera. The exhibit opens on Friday, June 7th with a reception from 5-8pm and continues through June 27th, 2019.

“Opera devises his experimental works without a lens-based mechanism, relying instead on the light from his own invented systems to map layered photographic hallucinations and invented psychedelia.  While previous pieces showcased the bold shape of the sun in single and double iterations, Opera’s new cyanotypes radiate the light source without reference to its orb. Soft yellow is achieved through bleaching, the sea and sky are mimicked with the classic Prussian blue of cyanotype, and the green of sun-dappled foliage is achieved through layered tints. 

Spinning like the hands of a clock, eight-foot-long fluorescent bulbs covered in dotted laser cut vinyl are suspended over a canvas. Using a turntable, Opera creates a burn at ten o’clock, then at twelve o’clock, and sometimes one, continuing to twist the canvas in a circular motion. His resulting radial works use the colors, textures, and methods of nature to produce his own reality—unpredictable landscapes bound to a flattened plane.” –Kate Sierzputowski, 2019

John Opera earned his BFA from SUNY New Paltz (1998) and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2005). He lived, worked, taught, and exhibited in Chicago for more than a dozen years. He currently is Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Buffalo.

Opera’s exhibitions include: Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Geneva, NY), Higher Pictures (New York), Longhouse Projects (New York), DOCUMENT (Chicago), Shane Campbell Gallery (Chicago), Andrew Rafacz Gallery (Chicago), The Suburban (Milwaukee), The Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), Transformer Station (Cleveland), Melanie Flood Projects, Portland (OR), Michael Jon Gallery (Miami), Macalester College Art Gallery (St. Paul), Nina Freudenheim Gallery (Buffalo) and The Burchfield-Penney Art Center (Buffalo). His work has been the subject of a two-person exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and is featured in the second volume of MP3, co-published by Aperture and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago). His work is part of the permanent collections of the DePaul Museum of Art (Chicago), the Burchfield-Penney Art Center (Buffalo), and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), among other institutions.

Opera’s work has been reviewed by Artforum,, The New Yorker, Flash Art, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Rail, The Buffalo News, and Chicago Artist Writers, among other publications.