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Outdoor exhibit is set for Governors Island in Nolan Park
Installation view.



NEW YORK, NY.- This May, outdoor sculptures that address the issue of war and conflict will be collaboratively presented by the West Harlem Art Fund and Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds adjacent to Building 10B in Nolan Park on Governors Island.

In Defense of the Human Spirit is an imaginative reaction to the fortresses that were built on Governors Island in the early 1800s to protect New York’s harbor from any foreign invasion. Each piece int this exhibition, thoughtfully curated by Savona Bailey-McClain of the West Harlem Art Fund and Christina Goldberg of Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds, conveys movement, a twisting and bending of the strongest of materials, inward and out, stretching towards and facing a city that is continually evolving. The panoramic view from Governors Island facing the ever-changing skyline of New York is a reminder that in the face of adversity, there is nothing more resilient than the human spirit.

As world events currently unfold, many are experiencing a clash of strong emotions. In this uncertain time, the light of the human spirit is undeniably vibrant. The world is witnessing extraordinary courage from the people of Ukraine. We are witnessing passion and true physical and moral leadership from its president, who has truly risen to the occasion. What we are witnessing, as the world comes together to protect freedoms, is inspiring and powerful.

In the current state of affairs, as well as in the artwork chosen for this exhibition, we find valuable relationships in unusual places. When we connect the negative spaces, the gentle shifts in color, the permanence of materials and the elegance of each curve and bend, we are able to generate a visual energy that embraces the beauty of continual change. It is that nexus of grace and strength that creates a universal harmony, as in art and in life.

In Defense of the Human Spirit will be on view from April 30, 2022 (International Sculpture Day) through October 31, 2022.

GILBERT BORO

Artist Gilbert Boro has a non-traditional approach to his artwork and is a firm believer that sculpture should be experienced with all the senses. Boro’s creative process is an indirect path of exploration – where progress is not always moving forward but readjusting, stepping away and often proceeding in a new direction. During his creative process, Boro listens to the materials and envisions how the sculpture will relate to its environment. The artist encourages engagement with the spaces and forms that delineate the sculpture, so as the sculpture itself becomes more than just an object in space; it becomes a space in and of itself. Knots have dual associations for Gilbert Boro: their indispensable application in sailing, which he learned as teenager living on Long Island Sound; and unity - the synergy created from weaving different strands to form a strong bond. Boro’s knots simultaneously expose the inherent power and strength of their construction with the smoothness and elegance of grace. A sailboat cannot navigate challenging weather without a crew working in unison to ensure the knots and lines are correctly placed. It is this dual bond between grace and strength that creates a universal harmony, as in art and in life. Unlike the tautness of a sailor’s knot, the voids floating between Boro’s strands recognize that we still need space to expand and thrive while exploring our common bonds through sculpture.

DOMENICO BELLI

Domenico’s sculptures combine the past and the present. He has an affinity toward the materials he works with, a deep sense of emotion, feelings, and dreams for what the material used for at one time and will become in his hand. They direct him on his path. From his process patterns emerge. He will take one piece of metal, add to it, and also delete from it. He is constantly discovering the metal's unique appeal. When the sculpture encompasses all his creative energy, it is complete.

His technique is brute force, decided in the moment. He is enticed by the interesting shapes of metal, the patterns, textures, and grain and is fascinated with form. It is his aspiration to create sculptures that are completely unique,
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that no one has done before. He resists conformity and mass production, and his results are as individual as he is.

JOE GITTERMAN

Joe Gitterman creates abstract sculptures inspired by a love of ballet and modern dance. He states, “I thought about the movements of dancers as a series of frames in an old celluloid film, and how just one of those frames could convey a fantastic sense of motion. I am working to capture this ‘single frame of motion’ in solid sculptures. For me, movement is the breath of life: it releases the power, or subtlety, of any form in repose - the promise of action. My sculpture examines the relationship between fixed form and movement: each sculpture attempts to suggest the transformation that is possible."

Sculpting maquettes in copper, wax, or acrylic, Gitterman chooses to cast in bronze or fabricate in stainless steel. His work ranges from intimate hand-size pieces to dramatic work well beyond the human scale. The surface texture and color of each piece accentuate either dynamic movement or sensual form. Whether they are clean, crisp stainless steel, bronze with a leather-like patina, or a vibrant yellow knot, they are abstractions and gestures; they are about fluid form. He does not make editions thus each of his works is an original.

Sails, knots, the movement of a dancer; these are the forms in motion that Gitterman attempts to replicate in his sculptures. With each series, he examines the movements of a given form, such as the gesture of a dancer, or the billowing curve of a sail. He then takes these moments and recreates them using a variety of materials. The result is an abstraction that hints at the possibility of movement.










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