Jeffrey Opp (United States) constructs photographs, hand-bound art books, and perceptual text-and-image artworks. In a search for new methods to ‘read the landscape,’ Opp investigates the dynamics of landscape and economics, including its manipulation of our senses. His photographs are characterized by the exploration of everyday places in an atmosphere of middle class yearning. Opp seeks out the limits of vernacular aesthetics, architecture, and ideology.
His artistic construction establishes a link between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver. By inviting the viewer to ‘feel their way into’ the artwork, viewers confront concrete questions that determine the reality of our surroundings and, by extension, factors that control how we live our lives.
Opp grew up in an extremely small, rural town void of shopping malls, fast food franchises, and other such places that are ubiquitous in ‘Anytown USA.’ He recalls watching the town’s clothing store close, never to reopen, leaving a prominent downtown building permanently vacant.
The North Dakota landscape where he grew up can be characterized by vast, open distances covered by grass, crops, and a sparse population of humans. He left the rural environment when he joined the Navy, where he spent most of his enlistment stationed overseas in Sicily. The effect of returning home to a country forever altered by world events created a sense of alienation that has allowed to him to to look at his society from a unique perspective.
Opp attended art school, where this change in attitude toward his home country met with a newly-honed critical eye. He further sharpened his critical wit and learned to back it with an intellectual edge while attending graduate school at San José State University in California.
Jeffrey Opp currently lives and works in the Portland, Oregon, area.