(American, b. 1975; resides in Chicago, IL)
John Opera makes photographs in the spirit of transcendentalism, the idea of emphasizing the importance of the individual soul, and promoting a form of self-knowledge that can be acquired by experiencing divinity directly through nature. His lush landscapes and entrancing abstractions are made to co-exist but also to affect one another in a push and pull of form and content, surface and depth, specificity and elusiveness. His landscapes can deliver powerful depictions of nature. Yet for all their picturesque quality, they are not always spectacular. Opera’s landscapes are not intended to communicate the grandeur of nature in the tradition of the European Romantic painters. Rather, like the American Transcendentalists, Opera goes to nature for inspiration, exploring the power of the mundane to elicit a feeling of interiority and an awareness of the subjectivity of experience. He then sets up a dialectic between representational and abstract work as a vehicle for expressing these broader concerns, as a way to probe the powerful links between emotion, intellect, and perception.
John Opera completed an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in Photography from the State University of New York at New Paltz. His work has been shown at Shane Campbell Gallery in Chicago; the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, New York; and Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago. Opera received the Weinstein Fellowship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005 and a Special Opportunity Stipend from the New York State Foundation for the Arts.