Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Reinventing Little Red Riding Hood

Artist uses technology and myth to tell new stories

Express Staff Writer

?Dear Riding Hood 1/3? by Deborah Oropallo. Mixed media at the Gail Severn Gallery.

Artist Deborah Oropallo will exhibit her latest work in a show called "Head to Head" at the Gail Severn Gallery in Ketchum on Friday, Dec. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. during Gallery Walk and the artist will be present. Inspired by an online search for stockings, Oropallo discovered images of sexy models adorned in costumes and outfits such as "Little Red Riding Hood."

"I really started to love the images," Oropallo said. "They are basically cheesy, but the way the women are photographed is pretty interesting."

Oropallo uses folklore and fairy tales to reveal a broader and more contemporary cultural statement about desire and power.

"I call into question the difference between the female power of sex and the male power of wealth," Oropallo said. "I like merging these women with sexy fetish costumes and make them the new royalty. These are famous women who didn't exist."

Oropallo does most of her work on computer and adores digital technology because it is affordable and accessible. Since she works in large format, a computer allows her to create and sketch smaller and then blow up her images in a larger format.

"In the 60s if you wanted photography to be large, you had to paint it, and now with digital technology you have many ways," Oropallo said. "Andy Warhol would definitely be using digital technology."

Oropallo said her work is about adornment for both men and women, and a uniform can be used to sexualize a classic character.

"It is kind of campy and satirical humor, which I embrace and simultaneously take a swipe at," Oropallo said. "It's something to challenge people."

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