Heroines by Deborah Oropallo At Melissa Morgan Fine Art



above: Deborah Oropallo, Where am I?, 2012, 50 1/2 x 38 1/2 inches, acrylic on paper

Melissa Morgan Fine Art just received artist Deborah Oropallo's newest paintings and works on paper from her latest series “Heroine.” in their Palm Desert Gallery.

Oropallo says of the Heroine series, which was begun in 2012, “The ‘struggle,’ I think, becomes a kind of metaphor for how women in the media have been portrayed, or wished to be portrayed…pre- or post-feminist, depending on the decade. Since the beginning of the comic-book industry in the 1940s, super-heroines have searched for identity on a broader scale. The super-hero fights for justice, but the super-heroine must also fight for equality. These eroticized and deified female characters, conformed as they are to the comics medium’s traditional visual tropes, thus carry out their struggle in a realm of ironic dichotomies—empowered and exploited, funny and tragic, masked and exposed.”

Don't Believe Me?
2012
Acrylic on Canvas, 64 x 49


This is just the beginning.
2012
80 x 60 inches, acrylic on canvas


What have you done?
2012
49 x 64 inches, acrylic on canvas


There's not enough time!
2012
50 1/2 x 38 1/2 inches, acrylic on paper


How can this be possible?
2012
80 x 60 inches, acrylic on canvas


Not even you!
2012
38 1/2 x 50 1/2 inches, acrylic on paper


This can't be happening!
2012
38 1/2 x 50 1/2 inches, acrylic on paper


From Magolia Editions:
"Deborah Oropallo continues her exploration of the iconography of power and costume in a new series of mixed-media works depicting abstracted female forms clad in superhero costumes. Oropallo’s inspiration for these prints was a troupe of female performers in Los Angeles, whose thriving web-based business venture involves dressing up in superhero costumes and enacting live-action comic books. The artist’s digital manipulation of these figures and their outfits zeroes in on ambiguous moments of dressing and undressing, where a metamorphosis, a kind of becoming or un-becoming, seems to be taking place. This ambiguity is heightened by the artist’s removal of nearly any trace of human flesh or faces from each figure, a signature move that destabilizes the work, creating a tension between figuration and abstraction: because so much information has been removed from each image, the fragments and gestures that remain assume both an air of mystery and a critical significance."

In a 2009 essay on Oropallo’s work, Nick Stone writes: “We know that we are decoding these images not because we are sure of what they mean but precisely because we are unsure; from a semiotic point of view, the works’ indeterminacy is what makes them tick. Because the code is not immediately legible, we become aware of its presence, and are confronted by a system which we may not have even been aware that we were using. This tendency to mask and unmask via layers and distortion is a consistent theme for Oropallo: in a 2004 interview she noted, ‘I’m always trying to soften the definition, [to] dissolve the images a little more.’ Beginning with the Feign series and continuing through the works collected here, Oropallo’s work has increasingly honed in on this theme; she has committed herself to a singular exploration of this indeterminacy, the process of blurring, distorting, and erasing information so as to scramble the viewer’s radar. In Feign, the digitally painted figures are recognizable as such, and their gender roles and costumes are fairly clear; it is the surface code, the medium, the code of line and color on a ground, which is being interrupted and jammed. As the figures in Guise become more indistinct and the boundaries of each figure and his or her costume – the boundaries of his or her very his-ness or her-ness – suddenly the codes of gender and power begin to break down and dissolve into one another. And in Wild Wild West, the figures have disappeared completely, as if acid has eaten away at the underlying medium by which these codes are transmitted. In this series it is as if Oropallo is paring each image down in search of the barest minimum of information necessary for our eyes to read into line and shape a link to some conceptual referent. By feeding our internal codecs ever fuzzier and more ambiguous data, she dares us to be sure of the meaning we take from each image.”

Visit the Melissa Morgan Fine Art gallery to see these wonderful works. They are located at 73-040 El Paseo in Palm Desert, CA.

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