photo: Michael Goldin            The Process

Deborah Oropallo combines nostalgic and instructive texts -- manuals on magic, folklore, children's games, alphabet rhymes, and historical events -- to communicate the ambiguity of contemporary existence and the influence of the past. Although the subject of her work is usually readily identifiable, it has been altered in ways that make it difficult to grasp fully. Her unorthodox presentation of familiar stories and visual cues invites alternate interpretations. Oropallo's highly crafted surfaces, with their many layers of oil glaze, give the work an inner, glowing light. This mesmerizing quality suggests the mellowness of age, as well as an enigmatic filter redolent of the complex, multifaceted nature of present-day life.

The paintings displayed here were inspired by three well-known fairy tales that relate to individual fantasies and broader cultural myths. The texts and images deal with the fundamental themes of temptation, transformation, and redemption. In Oropallo's world, events have direct consequences. Here the links remind us of humankind's indomitability -- our sheer will to overcome life's perils through resourcefulness and steadfast determination.