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A. Moret - Writer and Art Critic

Dennis Oppenheim "Garden of Evidence: Cactus Grove" at ACE Gallery- Art Scene (February 2009)

Monolithic sculptures modeled after cacti of the natural world have invaded the Ace Gallery.  In a new series of Architectural Cactus sculptures, “Garden of Evidence: Cactus Grove” land, body, performance, and video artist Dennis Oppenheim manufactures galvanized steel bases to support water jet cut aluminum frames, structural acrylic, translucent fiberglass, sidewalk grating, galvanized steel, and perforated metal.  Oppenheim manufactures 8-10 foot cacti from materials commonly found in a scrap metal yard.  His sleek handling and precision modeling render junk into symmetrical freestanding objects that appear light and balanced in the gallery space.  The large scale of the cactus sculptures makes them appear less real and more surreal.  Oppenheim used rivets large enough to secure a tractor and the use of metal grating reveal the interior of the sculptures allowing the viewer to examine the inner workings of the sculpture as well as admire the outrageous Pop-inspired colors on the outside.  Oppenheim has transplanted the cactus from its arid desert environment and has given them new life growing from the concrete gallery floor.  A man-made cactus appears more natural than a natural one as industry is overwhelming our natural world.