Imogen Smiling is an inkjet print on lenticular acrylic, released in an edition of 30 in 2015, by British artist Julian Opie. The pared down style with planes of solid colours is distinctive of Opie’s style, which is heavily influenced by Pop Art.
Imogen Smiling is more painterly in style than Opie’s earlier portraits, yet it retains his signature minimalist aesthetic. The use of shadows and highlights here confirms the evolution of Opie’s earlier style, in which such elements were absent. This stylistic development evolved as Opie sought to capture the more subtle movements of the face. To this end, Opie studied Japanese Manga and Old Masters to understand how shadows can be utilised instead of lines, the latter of which are a hallmark of Opie’s work.
The sitter’s features have been distilled, reduced to the bare minimum. Yet, Opie’s skill lies in maintaining the sitter’s unique identity and character, despite the simplicity.