San Francisco

Deborah Oropallo

Wirtz Art

Deborah Oropallo’s paintings might be classified as a new, piquant kind of Magic Realism. They don’t resemble the old, mid-century, mooning kind; less private, more assertive, and precisely melancholic, they live up to the term better, and more literally. The gem of this show was a small painting called Lemon Vanish, 1988. In it a lemon and a black top hat (props gleaned directly from Manet’s bag of tricks) occupy the center of a compact field, fixed by burnished swaths of light ocher and deep, icey green. A pair of perforated ellipses diagrammed on the hat’s crown testifies that the lemon is inside the hat. The joke on appearance is enjoyable because the painting itself is so lucid and forthright.

At 34, Oropallo has cultivated a remarkable range of skills and styles, from brisk trompe-l’oeil rendering to moody latherings of free-form paint. Still, her project continues to be a youthful

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 1988 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.