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“Transformations”: Anthony Crudelle-Janello November 30, 2009

Posted by claralieu in artists, photography, sculpture.
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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.

Crudelle-Janello

“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.

Crudelle-Janello

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.

Crudelle-Janello

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.

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