Dennis Santella, Nicholas Santella, and Anthony Santella
5/6 - 7/8/2017, Reception 6/3, 2-7pm
"When the logic of history hungers for bread and we hand out a stone, we are at pains to explain how much the stone resembles bread."
-Aldo Leopold, The Land Ethic
In Shared Ground artists and brothers Nicholas, Anthony, and Dennis Santella reflect on our relationship with the earth and the threads of fruitfulness and conflict that bind us to a place and identity. Working in diverse media, the brothers work is united by a focus on craft, the environment, and forgotten, sometimes dark, corners of experience. Together, their work is a multi-layered view of a shared heritage of craft and conflict.
Anthony’s wooden and mixed media sculptures merge human and plant sometimes literally rooting the figure. In his work, storm-downed trees are reshaped into ritual objects for navigating loss and trauma. Dennis’ photographs of the overgrown remains of Italian WWI trenches
and of Harlem, NY community gardens under siege by new development highlight the human urge to cultivate and destroy and the slow but constant march of nature. Nicholas’ steel recreations of Italian arms and agricultural implements underscore this tension between tending and violating.
These visions are unified in a collaborative outdoor installation, Folly, a sculpture that draws on the visual vocabularies of garden follies, improvised defensive fortifications, and environmental installations to create a space that invites and repulses. It provides a shelter in which to consider threads of craft and fear that run through our relationship with land, the search for safety, conflict, and the ever-present attraction of barriers. In acknowledgment of the fact that the closest approximation to safety is found in community, all are invited to contribute to Folly by bringing their own branches to add to the installation or by sharing their thoughts in the journal available in a box within the fortification. Folly will remain on site after the exhibitions close.