“Transformations”: Anthony Crudelle-Janello November 30, 2009Posted by claralieu in artists, photography, sculpture.
Tags: photography, RISD, sculpture
“Transformations“, an exhibition scheduled for March 2010, will examine artists who work between 2-D and 3-D media. Today’s post is a preview of Anthony Crudelle-Janello’s photographs, shot from sculptures he creates out of paper mache. Anthony Crudelle-Janello is an Adjunct Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design in the Illustration Department. Below you can read a short narrative about his artistic career.
My lifelong obsession has been with the human face, its endless variations, its extraordinary capacity for expression. In the year and a half spent in art school, I learned two things; First, that I would not find what I needed there. Second, I learned of the contempt many educators had for skills that came naturally to me.
“Painters paint” had become my creed. I believed I could learn to paint, as so many artists had before me, simply through practice. Financial reality drove me to choose jobs that allowed me to carve a few hours out of every day to paint. Among my jobs of that period were sign painter, window washer, chimney sweep, gravedigger, tree surgeon, and apprentice jewelry designer. I also began to develop a reputation as a portrait painter. In the mid-seventies I joined the faculty of the Continuing Education Department at the Rhode Island School of Design.
The RISD Illustration Department offered me an adjunct faculty contract. It is there I have taught drawing and painting on the undergraduate level for the past twenty-nine years.
Portrait painting is a strange profession. I wanted to create works which spoke to the uniqueness of the individual, works with depth and complexity, as had my heroes, Rembrandt and Velazquez. I found I had a clientele with little sophistication and very different objectives from mine. I found they grew uneasy if their portraits were too revealing. They were more comfortable remaining behind their masks. Often when I captured something insightful I would have to destroy it in order to sell the portrait. I felt tormented by commissioned work; I often deeply regretted my choice of careers. I came to recognize commercial portraiture as the art of correction. Slowly I turned away from the practice and began painting people I chose to paint, often professional models. I was making art for myself, art which I believed would suffer no compromise. However, I found as my work became more subtle, fewer and fewer people were able to appreciate it. I found that my pursuit of artistic fulfillment was alienating me from the general public, fellow artists and friends as well. It seemed no one was getting it. I grew despondent and was unable to finish work. Eventually I quit painting altogether.
It is out of this death of a long cherished hope that the Crudelle work arose. The loss of painting left a great void. My fascination with the human face did not change but the faces did. These new, three-dimensional faces appear structurally unsound as if in the early stages of a slow implosion. Something at the center had gone wrong and was no longer offering stable support to the surface features. Sometimes the only cure for a great loss is to work with what remains.