The following page is dedicated to available information found on the following artist by students of the Environmental Art class at Ball State. The information is as accurate as can be given available resources. Any additions should be sent to the address below.
- September 6, 1938 in Electric City, WA, to David Oppenheim and Katherine Belknap.
- New York City
- Karen Cackett (1958) -fellow student
- Phyllis Julbert (1967) -2nd wife
- Kristen (1959), Erik born (1962), Chandra (1968).
- Inspired by:
- Marcel DuChamp: much of his design philosophies are reflected especially the idea of implication in art. The 1940's began to reflect this through symbolic writings and pictographs.
- Influenced by:
- Conceptual arts, Minimalist philosophy, and combined this with abstract Expressionism and ironic representation of Pop art.
- Received Bachelor of Fine Art and a Masters from the California College of Arts & Crafts where he had also taught. He worked in association with Edward Kienholz who was also very influential.
- Early projects in similar class as Mike Heizer and Walter de Maria, a fellow high school student and friend of Dennis. He became friends with Robert Smithson while in College.
Four periods in Oppenheim's approach to art from which he builds on the latter while rejecting the previous ideal and activity and has no central theme sum up the genesis of his career:
- Before 1967 creative process, exploration of critical aspects, unrelenting control and frequent re-examination of the basics; this generates the three following approaches.
- 1967-69 geographical area replaces work shop (land art ).
- 1969-72 body art and performance art replaces land art.
- 1972- he performs "gestures" in the land or otherwise as installations (mostly focusing on networks of energetic relationships (entropy, etc.)
Design Principles & Philosophy:
- preoccupied with creative process not focusing much on object making
- essential trademark of his work is communication through implication
- the object used as a metaphor for creative process
- his art is between mental and visual without being purely abstract
- art (actual object/piece) speaks of a genesis or the moving back to its origin - action of art making
- disassociates self from some parts of the process
- investigates binding cycle of artist-gallery-art (Gallery Decomposition)
- art as a science
- body = tool to maneuver (Interrelations/Undifferentiations and Second Degree Burn [also: Sun Burn] )
- time and space are the materials, energy functions as a catalyst (Removal Transplant and Gallery Transplant)
- refusal of mass, notion of depth, and examines negative side of works (Excavations)
- documentation more important (video and film)
- hollow space studies (Indentions-Removals studies)
- ideas on extending the body and its experience, leaving its confines and projecting (2000' Shadow Projection)
This information was compiled by Jared Slaven (2-14-97).
Church -- a work.
Mind Twist Wandering -- a work.
"Project" -- a work.
Rolling Explosion -- wood, steel, aluminum, galvanized pipe at Laumeier Sculpture Park.
Stutter Pen -- a work.
Think Tanks -- a work.
Blast Conversional Archive.
Local Palette -- a brief article on Oppenheim.
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