Brandon Opalka: Yonder

Sept. 13, 2008 - Oct. 4, 2008

Opening reception Sept. 13, 2008, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m.

In his solo show at Dorsch Gallery this September, Brandon Opalka meditates on the place where he paints, a space he calls 'Yonder.' Opalka chose an image that reflects on this idea to announce the exhibition. A sun rises in the background, illuminating his assemblage of model animals and modeling clay. The image is actually two, layered together in Photoshop, marrying the detail of model with the way the light shines through trees outside his studio in Morningside. This intertwining of imagery calls on how, in art history, light represents thought. Here, in this mind space visualized, is Opalka's 'Yonder.'

Opalka paints from these models and other examples from art historical paintings, not from life. In the case of his models, he translates these mass-produced plastic animal toys, after altering them into a colorful diorama configuration, back into two-dimensional paintings on a grander and more rarified manifestation. The toys are a corporation's decision of what the animals' forms should be. Opalka's appropriation of them in his sculptural forms and then translation of them onto canvas makes the low high, the ideal subjective, the 'real' dreamlike. One's impressions of dreams when encountering Opalka's paintings are exactly what are most real in 'Yonder.'

The method of working with models has been a part of Opalka's process for several years now. This thread has taken him through dreamlike representational canvases to seemingly abstract work. In this show, Opalka returns to recognizable forms, while working toward an allegory that will fill out his opus.

Acknowledging this eventual goal, Opalka will pair text panels arbitrarily with his paintings, such that each painting has a story made evident, but that story is not necessarily his. This gesture underlines what is so frustrating and appealing about painting. Painting's value is in the stories it evokes, in falling into it, into 'Yonder,' where the stories fall away.