by Marcello Carlino

There is no doubt that it was the example of Ficus Macrophylla in Palermo ,  spectacular for its trunk , branches and foliage   that influenced the idea of Olga De Gasperisi  to paint this sequence of operas. The tree, one of the biggest examples in Europe, leaves us with no doubt that its majestic and monumental status  attracts an air for metaphors and it is potentially an ‘expression”  for both art and literature.
What this series of paintings evoke in me goes beyond that miracle in Palermo, deeper inside me  I imagine  ‘The tree of life’ not only the concept in religious terms  handed down by traditional iconographic images  but a tree of life  ‘grown’ in three places of different origins,  all equally significantly represented by a western way of creativity.
I am of course referring to first of all William Morris’ tapestry “Tree of life”, emblematic of peace and tolerance, the essential rules of  living together. Morris an able multi talented artist and politician  dreamed of a social purpose for the arts in everyday life.  The tapestry is a model statement for co-existence of man and his environment, a dominating thought  amongst  other pre-Raffaello artists too. Secondly in Volponi’s novel that takes place under the constant shade of the service tree and evergreens where life existed and history of mankind was  contemplated through affinity, identity and differences. To conclude also comes to mind  the ability of the talented American director Terrence Malick to associate  immediately in  ‘The  tree of life’ the symbolism of a tree,  to trace a biological memory back to  the  beginning of an existence in an unknown point of time.
My  multiple meanings of Dendrite are defined by grafting  these ideas together with a budding sense for strength and nature  to describe this series of paintings, like the chapters of a book ,  make one ‘whole’ opera.
The artists’ mixture of components  for the chromatic performance is an indicator of what to expect: being  multi-material,  the images  are often obtained by  a combination of oils and asphalts  that  give a chemical- organic  flavour that come from the earth  like the idea that can only materialize after having planted ‘the seed’ in the earth. Only to mention  the colours, used to a minimum, that have an unfinished porous effect  simulating  a material ‘in movement’. A hint of opaque brown dominates and confines with a grey, sometimes a whitish grey almost silver, whilst transforming and reaching out to plait with the red.   Together they form newborn colours, colours that seem to appear to have always been there for the human eye to absorb through the lens, the light : the colours of earth and fire ( from burning and the ash that is fed back to nature)  begin  to animate  a form of life.
From a different perspective  the theme of roots is repeated by a  motif  which  separates from a mass its original existence.  Olga De Gasperis has that capability  to intone it, mould  it into  possible variations and  runs away with the idea; she explores in minute detail, centimetre by centimetre, one detail after the other like a dermatologist  would the skin, and on  canvas her  vision of  dendrite is the pleat in the bark.                 
Channels, knots, fissures, seen close-up  in an uninterrupted   sequence where what is root is root congruent where  root  becomes  trunk and is resumed in  the monochrome  of freshly bleached wood and then as  if filmed in  slow motion other trunks come from branches and together with the roots they become one, representing one vital source of energy that conciliate their differences.
It’s in this ability to ‘unify’  that the artist possesses she shows us  how life triumphs .  
In Olga De Gasperis’ work she gives us a plastic perspective  using the idea of alternate spaces, empty and full. By cutting  the surface of the tree she reveals the  ability of the tree to encapsulate and conceive other existences and possible realities with their possible consequences. If we look for example at the fissures and splits divaricating  the options of an incubation time, it’s possible to grow the unknown and new and it cuts a fine figure to the uterine cavity ;  thinking of   the tree as a ‘she’ who  gives herself to musical parallelisms  capable of choosing slow gradual matches that consequently focus in  harmony:  like a  vision from the beginning of time when cavemen safeguarded the future, weighing himself down with a suitcase of knowledge he lugged around so his body inevitably grew the necessary muscles to do so and slowly and relentlessly  the change came about. The tree becomes the body, the flesh. The tree becomes the essence of man.
There are silvers to be found  , a haze of white (squashed in bas-relief  as if the essence has been squeezed out)  mutilated in passing. Then there is red and more red coming to life and it’s twisted together finding its own channels and flowing into more defined tubular spaces. The red is now what was the opaque brown, digging out hives and perforating holes  making a plastic perspective of  empty and full spaces. The tree is transformed, it’s man seen from the inside showing his ideal interior: the lymph  mixed here and there with blood   both of  intense vitality.                  
Dendriti is the tale of evolution and its forms of existence, the most fascinating adventure that ever begun.
Dendriti is a hymn to life and the mysterious  un-suppressible  energy that sustains it. Dendriti is a book containing many images, to be considered an ‘ecological’ opera d’arte if the canvas is capable of using nature as a ‘conversation’ between the tree and man to conciliate.
Dendriti wants you to reflect. The  title being elusive to the obvious visual division of the plant and its roots. If we were to recall the anatomy of the brain (the plant) and its internal activity (the roots)  we can extract the concept between  abstract and real: somewhere in between is how cleverly Olga De Gasperis depicts this. The artist starts with the exterior aspect of a tree and  peels off, layer by layer, to reveal the inside.
Dendriti is a way of telling  a story, the roots of which are deep inside us and by the time the story has been told have branched out, been externalized and so from beginning to end has entwined  like the branches on a trunk.  Past and  present entwine rooting themselves in the present where the story springs to life and like  lymph and blood irradiate it pulsates and flows, we could say sap is  the essence of life.
Dendriti represents  a life cycle  and like a wheel that never tops turning it spins out a wishful ecological message. How tragic it would be if we weren’t to appreciate that message  and  were to put something between the spokes interrupting the cycle compromising  beauty as its to be found somewhere inside  the rim . (Lisa Eagles)