Dark Landscapes for a White House critiques our cultural habituation to political and ecological traumas. As with earlier works, Oropallo employs photomontage as a strategy for visualizing how media-based images accumulate and overwhelm our collective consciousness. The works in Dark Landscapes for a White House, however, shift away from the portraiture of previous series, towards depictions of what Oropallo describes as conflicted “moral terrains.”
Oropallo presents her new works as “journalism in visual form,” and her compositions bear witness to global traumas that are all-toooften underreported, including oil spills and mass fires, as well as acts of human violence. By sourcing images from online news outlets, Oropallo draws attention to critical events that most people will never see, and which are elided from mainstream reportage
Four new videos produced in collaboration with musician and composer Andy Rappaport expand the visual narratives at play in the two dimensional works, and are featured in dual presentations in the main gallery and in the media room – the shift in scale changing the viewer’s experience of the work. Oropallo’s longest and most ambitious videos to date, the four works featured — Meltdown, Blazes, Crude, and Oval O (all 2018) — layer hundreds of images of impacted natural, political, and art historical environments (from polluted oceans to the Oval Office), an amalgamation of source materials that reflects Oropallo’s deep research into – and unease with – the proliferation of visual information in news media.
As Oropallo notes, “we consume and dismiss images so rapidly” that contemporary viewers have little time to reflect on geopolitical events and crises as they occur. By extension, Oropallo employs video montage to “slow down” that rapid feed of information, and to give viewers the time and space to reflect on troubles in the world around us. Rappaport’s complex sound design, in turn, encompasses such elements as original compositions, found sounds, and adapted and remixed versions of popular songs, such as Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler) (1971), to create an auditory landscape that is both familiar and unsettled, as a critical analogue to Oropallo’s photomontages.
Deborah Oropallo | Dark Landscapes for a White House
Exhibition Dates: May 12 – June 16, 2018
Opening reception with artists’ talks: Saturday, May 12, 2018 from 2pm – 5pm with the Artists’ Talks at 3pm with Deborah Oropallo and Andy Rappaport
Catharine Clark Gallery
248 Utah Street
San Francisco, CA 94103