Richard Della Costa “Remnants, Remains and Memory”


I am a retired media teacher and film/video producer currently living on the family farm in Kendall, NY. After Peace Corps service in India and Guatemala, I joined the Peace Corps staff in Washington, DC, where I  worked as a public affairs officer and media producer. While living there I  produced three independent 16mm films. They were, as best as I can describe them, collage films, avant-garde and expressionist in style. I have  been making collage art and assemblage art, box constructions and  sculpture since my return to this area in 1989. I find that the use of found  objects, junk and detritus lying around the farm in Kendall and in the woods  around me, very calming and always interesting. Since my retirement I  have had the time to devote myself to this work, have fun doing so, and  visually reflect on the state of my life and the world around me. 

Artist Statement

Any work with found objects, shadow boxes and the like, owe much to Joseph Cornell. For myself, the collages and Merzbau constructions of Kurt Schwitters and the aesthetic of Marcel Duchamp, form a more powerful influence. The political cynicism of the Dada artists and later on the exploration of the subconscious by the Surrealists, form an evolved aesthetic that I find meaningful, although those movements had their heyday in the early to mid 20th century. The work is essentially collage, although different descriptions abound: Assemblage, Shadow Box, Box Construction, Found Object Sculpture. The rule that I try and enforce is that I make minimal changes to the objects and photos as I combine them.

Working with found objects, combining pieces of junk, discarded bits of metal and glass, or using antique objects in new assemblies, comprise a way for me to organize the world that I see as chaotic and violent. I enjoy finding methods of securing differing materials to each other, filling pre-made (found) boxes or building boxes around objects and materials that work together. I use negative space as the need to fill boxes or collages completely works against the sense of power in the work.