“Quiet Cruelties” opens at University Art Museum

Quiet Cruelties: Prints, Sculpture, and Unique Works on Paper by Rimer Cardillo

image for Cardillo exhibition

Wasp, digital carbon pigment print, ca. 1974, printed 2011.

An exhibition of works from the artist’s collection

Binghamton University Art Museum

Fine Arts Building 213

January 24-March 23, 2013


Quiet Cruelties draws on four decades of Rimer Cardillo’s artistic production. After experiencing years of military rule in Uruguay, Cardillo fled to the US in 1979. He uses ambiguous printed imagery, as did Goya, to critique invidious violence that underscores oppression. Cardillo combines a great range of printing methods and techniques, from woodcut, engraving, and etching to aquatint, mezzotint, and silkscreen to create enigmatic visual statements that feature insects rather than individuals. Here, butterflies, moths, wasps, and grasshoppers suggest power and dispassion, weakness and vulnerability.

The emotive qualities of Baroque art and architecture, as well as centuries-old illustrated books of natural history inspire Cardillo. On this foundation he sometimes layers images of insects, seemingly tortured — impaled grasshoppers and splayed butterflies. Another series juxtaposes anthropologists’ photographs of ancient human remains in South America with plaster casts of animal carcasses. In this and in another series of bird casts and their prints, the artist draws the viewer to consider the ephemeral nature of life in a manner more common to the seventeenth century. Cardillo explores how humans, animals, and insects remain susceptible to violent forces outside their control.

Rimer Cardillo is Professor of Art at SUNY New Paltz. He exhibits internationally and in 2001 he represented Uruguay at the Venice Biennale. Cardillo will give a public lecture on his work at the Binghamton University Art Museum at the opening reception on Thursday, February 7 at 5:30 pm.

A small exhibition of early modern illustrated books of natural history, on loan from the Special Collections of the Binghamton University Library, will be on view nearby. Additional events include “An Entomologist Considers Art,” a gallery talk with biology professor Julian Shepherd on Tuesday, February 19, noon, FA 213; and “An Introduction to Biological Illustration: Its History, Uses, and Some Methods,” a workshop with Marla Coppolino, Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization on Saturday, March 2, 1–5 pm. To register in advance for the workshop, please call 607-777-2634. There is a $20 fee for the workshop.

Admission to the museum is free. For directions and museum hours visit artmuseum.binghamton.edu.

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