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 Roberto Cardinale  (20th century)

About: Roberto Cardinale


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Lived/Active: New Mexico      Known for: sculptor-religious buildings

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Ad Code: 4
Biography from Leslie Levy Fine Art, Inc.:
Roberto Cardinale builds small churches, missions and synagogues out of wood. The finished sculptures are handsome, semi-rustic earth-toned structures.

It was natural for Roberto Cardinale to choose to build places of worship. For five years he was a practicing Benedictine monk and from this evolved his interest in religious architecture. All of his sculptures are tributes to spiritual places, "the intense, physical manifestation of a community's beliefs".

Although Roberto spends many long hours researching these historical buildings, his houses of worship are not meant to be built exactly to scale. The weathered effect is achieved by a great deal of carving, scraping, staining and painting. Using artistic license, Cardinale chooses unusual colors as well when he creates these beautiful works of art.

About The Artist:
Roberto Cardinale began carving and whittling wood when he was a child. He honed his carving skills studying church architecture during the five years he spent as a Benedictine monk. He was convinced by his monastic life to pursue being an artist.

He met his wife, P.J., during the mid-sixties at the University of Northern Colorado. One of their first outings together was to search for junk. They married and spent a year in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. There, Roberto studied goldsmithing and P.J. studied painting.

Roberto went on to earn his doctorate in art education. He taught at the college level. He became the President of the San Antonio Art Institute. He left San Antonio to become the President of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.

Roberto decided to forego his position with the Museum of New Mexico Foundation due to so many political obligations there. Today, he sells real estate and creates art.

About The Work:
In Roberto Cardinale's garage-turned-workshop, he builds wooden pine boxes and miniature churches reminiscent of churches he studied, while living in Mexico. He layers them with paint. Then, he scrapes, scratches and repaints them until they have lustrous surfaces and bright colors akin to weathered Mexican doors. His wife, P.J., fills the boxes and an occasional church with her huge collection of odds and ends; she works thematically usually according to faded romance and sentimentality.

BA in Mathematics and Philosophy, earned while serving as a Benedictine monk
MA in Art, University of Northern Colorado
Ed. D in Art Education, Arizona State University
Professor at University of Northern Colorado, Ohio State University, University of Arizona, Boston University
Director of Program and Artisanry, Boston University

President of the San Antonio Art Institute
President of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation
Served on Committee for SNAG ‚97 Conference, Society of North American Goldsmiths, Albuquerque, NM

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