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Digital Print, 2007
H 89cm x W 67cm
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Esther, Schoolgirl is a signed digital print made by British artist Julian Opie in 2007. In this print Opie produces a portrait of a young woman and the title of the print indicates she is a schoolgirl named Esther. The portrait is rendered in Opie’s signature artistic style, characterised by his simple approach to drawing figures, reducing them to simplified dots and lines set against flat, coloured backgrounds. The sitter’s portrait is delineated using thick black lines which are filled with blocks of colour. The result of this visual style is that Opie’s portrait appears one-dimensional, flat and lacking in depth.
Opie has produced many portraits throughout his artistic career. The artist studied at Goldsmiths college and was heavily influenced by his teacher, conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin, whose ideas around representation and semiotics had a significant impact on the development of Opie’s minimal style.
Esther, Schoolgirl and many of Opie’s other artworks demonstrate how he is able to convey the complexity of the human face and its expressions using just a handful of lines. While the artist has been criticised for his ‘bland’ portraits which lack sophistication and detail, the works are in fact carefully arranged composites which are able to move the viewer who can identify with and relate to the people being drawn so simply.