Just off the 10 bus and a quick walk up the block, Wave Hill provides a lush alternative to the bustle of Fordham Road in the Bronx. Located in vastly suburban Riverdale, Wave Hill boasts a gallery, trails, greenhouses and several gardens with programming that focuses on families and beautification. However the space in its seclusion is not be overlooked, especially with Bronx artist Borinquen Gallo’s current installation, Be(e) Sanctuary, within Glyndor Gallery. The Sunroom Project Space has invited several artists over the last ten years to address the green space within an urban landscape.
Naturally past iterations engage with natural and unnatural elements that often spill across all surfaces of the two part space. Gallo’s practice, before this installation, largely focused on creating the impermanent with the permanent. Non-biodegradable, often primary-colored plastics fashioned themselves into beehives, chickens, and extensive canopies hung as portraits of discard. With similar intentions Gallo, along with her students and assistants at times, spent about a year weaving yellow and orange plastics and caution tape through minuscule black netting, accented by an orange strip running around the room’s entirety.
Partially [de]constructed from a former piece Field Guide to Narcissism, Be(e) Sanctuaryenvelops the room in golden throw and drops planters guised as beehives from the ceiling. Gallo who has woven the shell of a beehive before, offers its interior in massive with its exterior in minor. However Gallo’s inclusion of space for living organisms is new to her process. Inspired by Wave Hill’s backdrop and beehives, available for comparison, Gallo’s design becomes an act of sustainability. With workshops to create planters and leave them within the space, Be(e) Sanctuary maintains the potential to grow.
Just as Gallo’s materials allow for a communal process they also reflect back upon surrounding community. The twisting of the word “caution” produces a warped, digital affect in the work. Having lived and spent time in the Bronx throughout my life-in particular the area surrounding Lehman College’s campus-there is absolutely an amount of caution necessary. A mindfulness towards mindlessly polluting further an often neglected area and the caution towards others that urban isolationism breeds. Gallo presents an opportunity to address both in an atmosphere so drastically different from connotations drawn from the Bronx, but still Bronx nonetheless.
With gentrification consistently looming and retreating, Section 8 rent rising, and systematic shortcomings faced throughout generations, Be(e) Sanctuary is an ideal. It is a moment to create for a community space as well as the home space which inevitably caters right back to community. Wave Hill, albeit deep, is worth the epic and admission (reduced for students) to escape from what persists. On the day we ventured, we even walked away with a piece to plant. From watching my own family’s youth evolve alongside friend’s families, our generation and those to follow present a conscious need to diverge from the cyclicality of urban living for the other. Wave Hill presents a space to do so.
The orange line that runs the perimeter of the Sunroom Space connects the piece from wall to orange bursts on the ceiling, to planters and most enduringly to the sun itself mimicking a horizon line. Borinquen Gallo’s plastic weavings materialize debris into practical use while bringing physicality to the strain such remains cause its environment.
Be(e) Sanctuary, 2017
Sunroom Project Space 2017 | April 8–May 21