American Paradigms: David Opdyke and Lane Twitchell
The art of David Opdyke and Lane Twitchell strikes a balance between a poetic sensibility and a keen perception of various spheres of contemporary culture, including politics, religion, and debates about American identity. Their pairing here, the first museum presentation devoted to their work, offers viewers a unique and open-ended meditation on the American condition.
Lane Twitchell was born in Ogden, Utah, in 1967 and received an M.F.A. degree from the School of Visual Arts, New York, in 1995. His paintings draw from a dizzying range of art-historical and social antecedents, including the Hudson River School painters, American politics, the arcane theology of Mormonism, the West as frontier, technological history, and traditional forms of American handicraft. They depict the contemporary American landscape as if rendered through a kaleidoscopic, wide-angle lens. Mandala-like and resplendent with innocuous architecture, no-place landscaping, and suburban interchanges, Twitchell's paintings are filled with a nearly obsessive array of the details, often banal, of our shared public spaces. Specific as these details may be, including depictions of the Texaco logo, artist Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970), and road signs, they often blend together, mesmerize, and seem to take us no place in particular.
Born in 1969 in upstate New York, David Opdyke received a B.F.A. degree in painting and sculpture from the University of Cincinnati in 1992. He often employs symbolically loaded imagery and satire, playing with viewers’ perceptions by transforming quotidian materials through obsessive craftsmanship. Small-scale childhood pursuits like model building and scale railroading take on complex meaning in Opdyke’s hands, evoking the armatures of systemic international problems. Playful yet infused with dark intimations, his sculptures and multimedia works offer up beautiful objects edged with ominous portent. Opdyke often intermingles conflicting messages within his works or juxtaposes several pieces in installations that invite multiple, and often contradictory, interpretations of a world shaped by increasing globalization and technological complexity.
Paired together, Lane Twitchell and David Opdyke hold a mirror up to an America that we recognize as both familiar and foreign, visually synthesizing a nation that now, more than ever, is struggling with the gap between our worst impulses and our best intentions. American Paradigms allows us to see ourselves as we are perhaps seen by others - a unique, if uncomfortable, perspective.
American Paradigms: David Opdyke and Lane Twitchell is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art and made possible with the generous support of in-kind patron Roebling Hall, The Toby D. Lewis Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, and Mr. Brian Aitken.