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Mixed Media, 2021
Signed Mixed Media Edition of 20
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Celine Fraser, Specialist
Black Headed Gull is a mixed media artwork made by the renowned British artist Julian Opie in 2021. Coming in an edition size of 20 the artwork shows a Black Headed Gull rendered in blue. The bird’s body is delineated with a thick red outline and the bird is set against a white backdrop. The bird stands side-on, which emphasises its hooked beak, and it is captured looking out at something to the left of the print.
This artwork is one of five pieces made by Opie in his Small Birds collection. The collection was produced to accompany his spectacular LED based public artwork which the artist installed in Melbourne, Australia in December 2020. The installation was inspired by Opie’s father who grew up in Australia and would recount stories about the wildlife he encountered there. Opie himself enjoyed bird spotting when he travelled around Australia and each artwork in the series depicts a different kind of bird.
Black Headed Gull captures the essence of Opie’s visual style which is characterised by his minimal aesthetic and use of bright and bold colours. The artist was clearly inspired by the Pop Art movement and artists such as Andy Warhol who challenged our understanding of art and sought to blur the distinction between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. By taking everyday subjects such as birds, horses and people walking in a city and rendering them in a simple style, Opie demonstrates that ordinary and commonplace things and people are also worthy of being made into fine artworks.