Brandon Opalka: The Compromise

Feb. 11, 2011 - March 26, 2011

Opening reception Feb. 11, 2011, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Dorsch Gallery is pleased to present The Compromise, a solo exhibition of paintings, drawings and mixed media sculpture by Brandon Opalka, on view February 11 - March 26, 2011. The opening reception will be Friday, February 11th from 6 to 9pm.

With this exhibition Opalka, best known as a painter of walls and canvases, probes the conflicts between being an artist and cultivating personas as such and being a whole person who can sustainably support himself and his family. Reverberating beyond his microcosm, the works in this show point to the state of compromise as an endemic state of being in an individual life, in society and in our world.

At the individual level, clashes between art, artifice and human vulnerability are evident in Opalka's layering of paint pours and dips over talismatic objects: numerous beer bottles, art books, and animal figurines. Opalka arranges them on a bridge built for the exhibition space. In his drawings, he uses paint to cover over similar objects: art books, plastic beer rings and National Geographic magazine covers. Wrapped up in his collection of books are the hopes and ambitions of a painting omnivore. Plastic beer rings are a small part of debris collected over years of drinking too much; he reveals his drinking habit as part of the grief associated with choosing. His past art works have treated animals as subject matter, either obliquely or overtly, and his mural "Nature is Imagination in Itself" (2009) on the west exterior wall of Dorsch Gallery was inspired by a fold-out photograph of a Sequoia tree, which appeared in the October 2009 issue of National Geographic.

Inherent in "compromise" is a pressing negativity, a focus on the loss rather than the gain. This emotion is very much part of the zeitgeist, from 2008 leading to now, a feeling that times are hard. This exhibition explores the dimensions of how the times have affected this artist's aspirations and calls for discussion about the meaning of the sacrifices we make to become visible.

Brandon Opalka began painting in his early teens, immersed in graffiti culture. He studied for a short time at International Fine Arts College in Miami then left to make art full-time. He worked with the collective FeCuOp (with artists Christian Curiel and Jason Ferguson). He has had one-man exhibitions at Rocket Projects, Ingalls & Associates and Dorsch Gallery. His work has been curated into major group exhibitions at Tomio Koyama Gallery in Tokyo, Japan; Whitebox, New York; and Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL. He has exhibited extensively in Miami. Notable venues include Casa Lin, Open Space, Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, The House and Locust Projects. The most recent developments in his sculpture have been shown in the shop windows at Art Center South Florida on Lincoln Road and in "Bubble Raft," a group exhibition at Dorsch Gallery in September 2010. He has painted the 138-foot west exterior wall of Dorsch Gallery three times, one a large painting, one with his crew, and the third a Sequoia, growing sideways in Wynwood. He lives and works in Miami. He is studying environmental science at Miami Dade College.

Brandon Opalka

Disambiguation, 2010-11, wood, paint, bottles and plastic animals, 42 x 72 x 12 inches

Brandon Opalka

Installation view: The Compromise - Tacoma Narrows Bridge, 2011, video (foreground) and wood, concrete, sticks, clay, metal pipes (partially visible, left background)

Brandon Opalka

Detail from The African Vessels Series, 2011, mixed media

Brandon Opalka

Installation view

Brandon Opalka

The Compromise, 2011, oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches