James Barron Art Gallery is pleased to present works by Moira Dryer and Laura de Santillana, two artists who have not been exhibited together before. Despite working in different mediums, Moira Dryer with casein on ordinary plywood, and de Santillana with glass that has been compressed nearly into a plane, their art is both pithy and delicate.

Both defied the nature of their materials: the weight of wood and glass became sheer lightness and effervescence. Both played with transparency and translucency, and sadly, both died in the prime of their careers, having achieved so much, but with much more left to be said. Both were poets who drew inspiration from Italian art. Born two years apart, Dryer in 1957 and de Santillana in 1955, their work deserves greater attention, and we are proud to exhibit them together.

It contains nothing, but it’s still a container, a vessel.
It contains color and light.

(Laura de Santillana)

These images are in state of flux long after the paint has dried. They have a life of their own. In a perpetual state of transformation, they are potential images moving in and out of focus. They belong to a primal state, next door to dream and memory.

(Moira Dryer)

It starts with the breath. I like working with glass because you put air—your breath—inside the material and you close it inside. It’s the moment between inhaling and exhaling.

(Laura de Santillana)

Moira Dryer was born in Canada in 1957 and came to New York in the late 1970s. She attended the School of Visual Arts, where she studied with Elizabeth Murray, and graduated with a BFA in 1980. Dryer exhibited in group shows and was briefly a studio assistant for Julian Schnabel. She later made props for Mabou Mines and other downtown theater companies. In 1985 she fully committed herself to her own painting. Moira Dryer died in 1992.

Laura de Santillana was born in Venice in 1955 and she studied classics and architecture before moving to New York City, where she worked with the Vignelli Associates studio whilst attending the School of Visual Arts. De Santillana went on to design art books and began designing objects and lamps for the family business, Venini alongside her father Ludovico. Founded with her father and brother, de Santillana served as art director of EOS until 1993. From 1999 until her death in 2019, de Santillana committed herself to innovating glass techniques; it is during this period that she created many of her iconic works, including her signature standing glass series.