Material Handling / New Paintings

January 3 - February 24, 2001

The STEPHEN WIRTZ GALLERY is pleased to announce the exhibition of new work by DEBORAH OROPALLO.

Colorful, life-size industrial containers and equipment fill the canvases of Deborah Oropallo’s new series of paintings. Stacked metal drums and buckets with words such as “SALVAGE” painted across them are found at a chemical storage facility near to where Oropallo resides. There is an inherent contrast within the objects’ unexpected beauty and structure, and the unknown substances which they contain. The underlying tension of elements of safety and survival combined with the formal aesthetic is a theme found in much of Oropallo’s current and past work.

Oropallo uses a process in these paintings that she has not previously employed. She has taken digital photographs from which large Iris prints have been made, and then silkscreened over them to create textural, layered surfaces. She also uses silkscreening as a literal strategy to partially veil her imagery and offer the viewer a distanced glimpse through a screen. Unlike the previous body of work, the 2-dimensional objects in these canvases have profound volume and depth. Oropallo has a remarkable ability of transforming ordinary objects into visually resonant abstractions.

DEBORAH OROPALLO (b.1954, Hackensack, NJ) will have a traveling survey exhibition opening at the San Jose Museum of Art in October 2001, accompanied by a 120-page catalogue with essay by Jeff Kelley. Her work is currently featured in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s “Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection.” Oropallo received her M.A. and B.F.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work has been included in the 1989 Whitney Biennial, as well as the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s 1993 Biennial Exhibition.