Fabrications brings together, for the first time in New York, David Opdyke’s complex sculptural works and his highly intricate, detailed drawings, engaging both an obsession with technical solutions related to sculptural form and a parallel fabrication of ideologies and technocratic political strategies in our time. Exploiting the sculptural possibilities of model making and employing the skilled precision of a genuine draftsman, Opdyke comments on America’s much-vaunted power structures and its humming motor of consumerism, while avoiding the didacticism associated with art with an overt politics.
In works like Greenback, for example, Opdyke creates a wall-mounted relief of the corner of a U.S. dollar bill, made up of thousands of tiny little soldiers, tanks, trucks, bivouac tents, ammo crates and sand bags. Describing both a desert landscape filled with martial forces and the iconic currency for war in the 21st century, Greenback dovetails a clear sculptural sense, serious craftsmanship and wit with a political critique whose driving wedge is, without a doubt, the sculpture’s stupendous visual impact.
In another work, Growth, a hulking lodestar of what appear to be rusted skeletons of steel and glass buildings hangs suspended in the gallery, its shard-like protrusions jutting outward in mock organicism. The fact each of the structures is a reproduction on various scales of one of New York’s Trump Towers humorously underlines Opdyke’s critique of the metastasizing excesses of American culture. As the latter expands and morphs into ever familiar schemes of growth, conquest and development, Opdyke’s highly-engineered, eye-bending and ultimately amazing sculptures acquire even more trenchant valences.