Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Upcoming Solo Show: Transformations

Press release for my upcoming solo show, for which I am in continual panicky preparation. Hope you can make it. 

The Barron Art Center 

Transformations: The Art of Anthony Santella

'Predator Overhead', detail

The Barron Art Center Hosts “Transformations: The Art of Anthony Santella”
September 6-25, 2014    Artist’s Reception:  September 11, 2014 ~ 7-9pm

Woodbridge, New Jersey–The Barron Arts Center presents “Transformations: The Art of Anthony Santella.”  The exhibit runs September 6-25, 2014 with a reception Thursday, September 11, 2014 ~ 7-9pm. Light refreshments will be available.

Drawing on the traditions of African, indigenous Pacific Northwest & Medieval ritual art, Teaneck, NJ resident Anthony Santella creates sculpture and painting that reflects his own struggles with the fears and hopes of the modern world.  

“By placing mythic figures and surreal anomalies in modern contexts I want to question our faith in the reality of the waking world, its rules, and the primacy of its values: pleasure, power, control. Perhaps instead when we face the incomprehensible and die, bit by bit, sacrifice by sacrifice, we are most truly alive. At its best art is a tool that helps us face reality. In this body of work I have tried to challenge the viewer and myself to see reality through new eyes.”

Anthony’s work is motivated by an obsession with myth and relationships, those between people and between people and their environment. It is informed by the stories of others and by personal experience as a working scientist (Anthony earned his PhD from Rutgers in 2005, and works in research at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), a husband and a person of faith. His sculptural work is executed in salvaged local trees, cut during construction or storm downed. This process has personal as well as political significance. Included in the show are several pieces reflecting on, and constructed with wood from trees with special personal resonance.  One, an 80 year old oak that stood over the artist’s childhood home destroyed his car when it fell during hurricane Sandy.  Another oak, about 250 years old and believed the 4th largest in NJ was removed last year after a long and public political battle. For a year Anthony took pictures of the stump daily; a selection of these is also on display. For the artist creating finely detailed figures from these discarded but resonant materials is both an environmental statement and an act of resurrection.

 Please join us for this thought provoking new exhibition. For more information please call the Barron Arts Center at (732)634-0413.

“Transformations: The Art of Anthony Santella,” the new exhibit at The Barron Arts Center is on view September 6-25, 2014 with an artist’s reception Thursday, September 11, 2014 ~ 7-9pm. RESERVATIONS NOT REQUIRED.

The Barron Arts Center is located at 582 Rahway Avenue in Woodbridge, NJ.
Gallery hours are Monday thru Friday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

The exhibition is sponsored by The Woodbridge Township Cultural Arts Commission chaired by Dr. Dolores Capraro Gioffre with support from Mayor John E. McCormac.

About the Barron Arts Center – Woodbridge Township’s Center for the Arts

The Barron Arts Center, listed on the national Register of Historic Places, recently celebrated its 135th Anniversary. With the support of the Woodbridge Township Cultural Arts Commission and under the direction of Cynthia Knight, the Barron Arts Center offers programming to the public free of charge.

Donations are appreciated and are essential to the continuation of free quality arts programs and exhibits. The Barron Arts Center always accepts donations for
The Mayor’s Food Bank & The Woodbridge Animal Shelter

** Please become a “fan” of the “Barron Arts Center” on our Facebook page to get all of the latest information on upcoming programs and events. Follow us on Twitter @BarronArtsCtr & on Instagram at “BarronArtsCenter” for art news from Woodbridge & around the world!**

For more information or directions, please call (732) 634-0413.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


A good bit of back and forth, ending with a light low key tinting in watercolor, more by chance or fortune than intention. I think it works to put the emphasis on the text. It's a little hard to see in shadowed photos, but I think this is going to be close to the final look.

"E' fortuna che oggi non tira vento. Strano, in qualche modo si ha sempre l'impressione di essere fortunati, che una qualche circostanza, magari infinitesima, cin trattenga sull'orlo della disperazione e ci conceda di vivere. Piove, ma non tira vento. Oppure, piove e tira vento: ma sai che tocca a te il supplemento di zuppa, e allora anche oggi trovi la forza di tirar sera. O ancora, pioggia e vento e la fame consueta, e allora pensi che se proprio dovessi, se non ti sentissi piĆ¹ altro nel cuore che sofferenza e noia, come a volte succede che pare veramente di giacere sul fondo: ebbene, anche allora noi pensiamo che se vogliamo, in qualunque momento possiamo pur sempre andare a toccare il reticolato elettrico, o buttarci sotto i treni in manovra e allora finirebbe di piovere"
-Primo Levi, Se Quest e Un Uomo

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Still Keeping Busy

More or less completed the main sculpt on the dryad, now the thing just needs to dry before it becomes a mass of mold... Hoping for some sunny days. Final surface treatment plan is little bit complicated and experimental, but needs to dry first.  Will be done after all by my big Sept solo show at the Barron Art Center in Woodbridge, barring disaster.

Plodding along on my piece for Sept's #occupycommonground at St Paul the Apostle in NYC. It's going to get there too...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Keeping Busy

Been busy with the papier mache head, made quite a bit of minimally documented progress.

Basic form all blocked in.

At this point I've converged on a uniform 100%  used printer paper, which has  nice purplish tint from papers dating from era where I religiously used a fountain pen with purple ink.   About here I've pretty much done all the coarse scale work.

Previous batches I'd just boiled and mixed with mixing machine head on a drill, as I'm getting started on the detail work I put the final (hopefully) batch through food processor, to get a more uniform fine pulp.

After applying I've been burnishing the surface with a spoon mostly, and been getting close to the final surface I'm hoping for...

I can't remember the last time I actually worked on a 2D piece in my studio, but here's the proof.
It's happening. Cartoon in progress for 'The Transformation of Daphne', Dorothy Day and William Morris looking on.