The main theme of Oppenheim's work is primarily to render personal responses to the female form. The plurality of her work focuses on range: bronze figurative nude sculptures, drawings, encaustics, paintings, ceramics, print and mixed media and photography.
Oppenheim's studio is in Maine. She studies occasionally at The Art Students League in Manhattan as well. Her formal education began at Bowdoin College where she has exhibited. Oppenheim has studied at The Art School at Old Church in Demarest, New Jersey with sculptor Janice Mauro and the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, New York. Sculptures are bronzed at local foundries, including New Foundry New York, Inc., Stewart Sculpture Casting and Polich Tallix, a full service foundry that caters to sculptors such as Tom Otterness and Frank Stella.
Oppenheim is an Artist Member of the Edward Hopper House Art Center, and a former Associate member of The National Sculpture Society and The Art School of Old Church. She previously served on the Development Committee at The Edward Hopper House Art Center. Oppenheim is also a member of Fine Arts, Fine Art Professionals and Collectors, The Art Students League of New York, and participates at the Modern Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum, and the Portland Museum of Art programming.
Oppenheim has shown work at The Edward Hopper House, The Art School of Old Church, The Clay Art Center in Port Chester, The Gene Reed Gallery, Maria Luisa of Nyack, Bowdoin College, Rockland Center for the Arts, The All Souls Church in Suffern, and Johnnycakes of Nyack. Her work is on permanent exhibition at 8 North Broadway and Johnnycakes on Main Street in Nyack, New York.
כִּי עַם קָדוֹשׁ אַתָּה, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ; וּבְךָ בָּחַר יְהוָה, לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְעַם סְגֻלָּה, מִכֹּל הָעַמִּים, אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה
Mother Theresa said, "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family."
It is crucial to understand, we live in a world right now that overvalues all the wrong things: money, fame, popularity, how many followers one has on instagram--all these things that we think are the barometers for how attractive someone is are superficial and unimportant. The truth is, when it really comes down to it, a person of character, of kindness, of integrity--an individual who day to day and over a lifetime exhibits these qualities...with the best people, with the most mature, humble and intelligent people, this is where the game is being played.
my interest in
and talent in art
was a secret for a very long time
for I was known
creatively as a pianist
secrets...I published poetry
under a pseudonym for years
my family still has no idea about that
my heart began to sing
long before I knew
what it really meant
to be so lucky
to hone my vision
with my hands
a story without words
steeped in my ability to open
as my children were blossoming
I had the courage
what I was making
as life is unpredictable
I lost my first studio and art community
in the messy end of my marriage
vaulted off the disaster
towards something else
something I hadn't planned for
much art was broken and
somehow became even
more beautiful that way
that was no way to live
I feel safe now
heart, soul, hands rebuild
to put down roots again
plant some apple trees
and move with art utensils
tap on ivory keys
roast pickle preserve
a place where family and friends
feel at home
to honor the private story
with your heart and hands
is freedom and dignity
" Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness, you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone who journeyed through the night with plans and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend."
Naomi Shihab Nye
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
treat yourself like someone you loved
this is a sure thing
all my love from Maine
Oppenheim is a Mainer whose upbringing fostered a respect for the ocean, the mountains, the woodlands and lakes, the value of a home cooked meal with family, and all the glorious people she has met during her adventures along the way. You cannot make old friends when you are old. As her children tenderly say to her, "It wasn't nature, mom, it was nurture. It was you." These are the sweetest words that she has ever heard.
Let's change the label from victim to victory. The view is much better from the top. You see yourself at the highest level of play. You attribute it to what matters to you: it is irresistible. Vulnerability is not a weakness. That myth is incredibly damaging. It is courage. Courage is our most accurate measurement--not reaching the peak of a mountaintop. Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.
Oppenheim has summited Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft.), the highest peak in Africa; the Salkantay route (20,574 ft.), the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range and part of the Peruvian Andes ending in Machu Picchu; Mt. Katahdin (5,287 ft.), the highest mountain in Maine; San Gabriel Mountains, Henninger Flats in the Angeles National Forest (2,600 ft.) and climbed on but did not summit Mt. Everest, the Earth's highest mountain dubbed the "Stairway to Heaven," a path many a great adventurer has journeyed along one of the world's most beautiful and challenging routes while sick with high-altitude pulmonary edema, the Khumbu cough, and a fever: (17,598 ft. Everest Base Camp for two nights, 9+ avalanches in the dark, and a few hundred feet up the constantly crackling crushed glacier mouth Khumbu Icefall and the Western CWM. This place is where countless scary situations can happen: a crevasse might open under you; an ice-pinnacle can fall on top of you; the entire area can collapse; it is not a place for a picnic and most everyone just concentrates on getting out of there as quickly as possible). At this altitude, oxygen decreases to about 50%. There is no limit to how a person's influence can reach but to find that out, one must engage with a level of understanding that has deepened. When you do anything this way, you express every aspect of who you are. A body aches as the lack of oxygen and fatigue sheds your energy. It is not one skill that Oppenheim is talking about, but a true quantum leap that leaves no part untouched. With no exception, a person's level of commitment reflects an understanding of what one is willing to achieve.
Let's focus on what I had to do to get here. A woman who summits a mountain didn't fall there. Anything done at a high level of excellence always intrigues because it is the ultimate expression of being human--that an individual does something that they did not have to do. Talk about literally walking away from trauma, as Peter Levine describes in "Waking the Tiger." For me, it wasn't just the beauty of the exercise and the difficulty of it that made it worthwhile, admirable and very pleasurable. My body instinctively compelled me to heal myself by somatically walking away, up and down mountains. Powerful impulses govern our responses to overwhelming life events whether we realize it or not.
To make her trek on Mt. Everest more meaningful, Oppenheim raised funds and sent a professional woman and mother who is a victim of domestic abuse to a highly sought after all-woman empowerment retreat to work with peak-performance experts to help her create necessary, life-changing results. Let's not miss the obvious: to escape something that brings one to an entirely distant location with the desire to help domestic abuse victims. Most good people try to honor their commitments and keep their families together. Can you choose who you're attracted to? Maybe not at first. But you can 100% stop investing in people who treat you poorly--it is a waste of time and a turn-off. No one is happy sleeping on the floor; they just get used to it. Oppenheim is committed to women's safety and helping them live extraordinary lives. Adversity does not have to ruin a woman's life. We should not be complicit or silently accept that intimidation, physical, psychological, emotional and financial abuse quietly hides in our communities. Without an enemy, abusive people would have to face the presence of evil inside themselves. Abusive people cannot run from themselves forever; eventually they have to face themselves and what they have done. Even if someone has been brutal to you, in the heart of their contempt, you have to have tremendous courage to love yourself even more and pay the love inside you forward--be gentle towards others. It makes you a badass with the heart of an angel. Poet Ryunosuke Satoro once wrote, "Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." The success of one woman is a collective success for all women. The #MeToo movement has prompted an ongoing national reckoning with regard to the issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Domestic violence needs to be busted open as well. The statistics are sobering: every day, on average, three or more women are killed in the U.S. by either their husbands or boyfriends. Observing misery doesn't help anyone. What helps is action. Oppenheim chooses to focus on helping the victims. Life should have meaning. I can tell you that more fulfilling than standing on Mt. Everest is the ability to change a victim of domestic abuse's life for the better, especially a single mother whose children are living in her home.
Become an activist. It feeds you. Oppenheim has been asked to speak about the issues of domestic abuse.
Please have a look and share Oppenheim's "gofundme" page: