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Indepth Arts News:

"How-To: The Art of Deborah Oropallo"
2002-11-09 until 2003-02-02
Museum of Glass, International Center for Contemporary Art
Tacoma, WA, USA United States of America

How-To: The Art of Deborah Oropallo is a mid-career survey of 23 paintings and 3 sculptures that highlight the work of one of the Bay Area's most influential artists. Oropallo has achieved national renown for her remarkable ability to transform mundane objects into striking images of poetic resonance. In the past 20 years, her work has evolved from richly saturated paintings of images and text to larger, somewhat abstract silk-screened canvases of untraditional subject matter such as rope, doormats, tickets and toy trains.

By examining commonly overlooked objects, Oropallo's technique encourages recognition of the extraordinary in the everyday. She transforms bobbie pins, wire hangers, iron marks, pennies, tires, clocks, and other objects into subject matter for aesthetic contemplation. Referencing a quote by Flannery O'Connor, Oropallo states, "the more you look at one object, the more of the world you see in it."

In Oropallo's recent work, she presents themes of escape, survival and rescue. Several of her works address natural catastrophes and situations of social and political unrest. In the figurative Three Man Patrol, 1993, life-sized police officers in riot gear are painted against an austere gray backdrop. The officers' faces obscured, they are surrounded by stenciled text taken from a police manual. Oropallo created this work in response to the Los Angeles riots to question the physical and psychological means through which society attempts to maintain order.

"In addition to Deborah's paintings, we are excited to be showing the work she created during her September AT&T Visiting Artists residency in the Hot Shop," said Neil Watson, chief curator at the Museum. "This is a unique opportunity to follow art from creation to exhibition in the gallery."

The Museum of Glass is a fine arts museum dedicated to the presentation of the medium of glass within the context of contemporary art in all media. The Museum will present the richness and diversity of the art of our time and explore how glass draws from and contributes to the many facets of contemporary art. With advanced, specialized facilities for the exhibition and interpretation of art, the Museum will define specialized museums for the 21st century. In addition to the Hot Shop Amphitheater where visitors can watch artists work, the facilities include galleries, outdoor exhibition areas, a theater, Education Studio, grand hall, store and café.

About Deborah Oropallo

Deborah Oropallo lives and works in Berkeley, California. She is originally from Hackensack, New Jersey. She received her bachelor of fine arts from Alfred University in New York State and her master of arts and master of fine arts from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Eureka Fellowship Award from the Fleishhacker Foundation; a EW grant award; and an Engelhard Award from the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Since the mid-1980s, Oropallo has exhibited her work nationally at various museums and art institutions, including several important group exhibitions: American Kaleidoscope: Themes and Perspectives in Recent Art at the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the 43rd Corcoran Biennial, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the 1989 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her work is in the holdings of numerous private and public collections.

Deborah Oropallo
Oversize, 2001
Iris print, oil on canvas; 106 x 69 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA

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