Miriam is a print by Julian Opie from 2011 that shows a three-quarter length portrait of a pregnant woman holding an apple in her left hand, wearing a blue dress and brown shawl. The woman is rendered anonymous by her featureless face that consists of a blank circle floating above her shoulders, but through Opie’s use of colour the viewer may see this image through religious iconography of the Virgin Mary.
Opie produces this print with simplified form, bright block colours and thick, bold outlines creating a portrait in its most basic mode. Opie makes the point, however, that there is more to this print than first assumed: "Some people often talk about my portraiture being pared-down but I don’t quite see it that way. I see it as starting from a point of view saying, ‘I’d like to make something, I’d like to mark my presence, I’d like to communicate what it feels like to look at things."
The figure’s featureless face that Opie depicts works as a blank reflection whereby when the viewer looks at this representation of the human form they think of themselves and how they relate to it. Opie’s depersonalised style creates an ambiguous sense of subjectivity in the sitter that is extremely effective.