Depicted in the artist’s characteristic graphic visual language, Running Women is a screen print by Julian Opie from his Runners series (2016). Showing five full-length profiles of women running in varying directions, Opie renders the figures with featureless faces and brightly coloured, branded sports clothing.
Opie created this series from a selection of photographs and film, shot by two of his assistants in public, where many people were running past the camera. This allowed Opie to produce a dynamic image with a variety of people, each uniquely distinguishable due to the artist’s attention to detail with clothing and each person’s gate. Throughout his career, Opie has been fascinated by the human body, producing many full-length images of people in mid-movement such as his Walking In The Rain series from 2015.
Opie situates this print in the 21st century due to his astute attention to detail in clothing and technology. At the same time, Running Women is representative of the way in which Opie combines the vernacular of the everyday with the canonical style of art history. Of this print Opie has said, “I was thinking of the striding athletes circling ancient Greek vases, and of stone-carved Roman friezes of battling warriors.”