Michele Zalopany at Esso

Michele Zalopany Line Up 2006 pastel on canvas (triptych) 88" x 156" [installation view]

[detail of above]

Michele Zalopany Jimmy Hoffa Bar 2006 pastel on canvas 30" x 40" [installation view]

Michele Zalopany 5774 Coplin 2006 pastel on canvas 30" x 30" [installation view]

Michele Zalopany was born in Detroit in 1955, in one of the last years of that city's unprecedented period of prosperity, one whose height would soon be matched by the depth of its descent into economic and social disintegration. Most of the people and things she captures in the beautiful, sad pastels currently being shown at Esso had either disappeared or been transformed into the mythic even before she found them. For someone who grew up in the city half a generation before the artist did, and who left for good around 1962, coming across these paintings was like opening a trunk in the attic which had belonged to a favorite uncle or aunt.

Excerpts from the gallery's press release describe the artist's inspirations:

Through her labor intensive pastel paintings, Michele Zalopany speaks of mysterious objects as a keen observer of the seemingly irresolvable problematic of the racial divide. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, she bears witness to the disintegration of what was once the fulcrum of the American economy, as a result of the historic dilemma of institutional racism.

Her paintings' photographic realism uses a fictitious model, closer to an excuse to raise a question rather than make a statement, although many of the places, people and things are, or were, real.

I have one important question and I would be very garteful if someone could answer: doesen't Michelle Zalopany have any family in Poland? Her family name isn't very popular,nevertheless my family name is also Zalopany. I was told that there were some members of my family in the USA and Great Britain and it would be grat to find them.