Churches of the Southwest: Wood Sculptures by Roberto (Bob) Cardinale

October 18, 2016 – January 8, 2017

Churches of the Southwest: Wood Sculptures by Roberto (Bob) Cardinale includes re-creations of over one dozen southwest mission churches from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, carved from rough-hewn pine and then richly detailed with paraffin, paint, graphite and gold leaf. The results are sculptural miniatures imbued with an age-worn patina that portrays the spirit, age and beauty of each mission. Some of the miniature churches include secret drawers in their bases that incorporate assemblages done by Cardinale’s artist-wife, PJ. The items contained in the drawers harken back to the objects that the worshippers would have incorporated into their devotion. Mission churches from the southwest are a testament to the exquisite architecture of two blended cultures; the Spanish missionaries and the indigenous people of the region. For the presentation at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, Cardinale sculpted Tucson’s own Mission San Xavier del Bac and the Mission at Tumacácori located south of the city.

Artist Biography

Roberto Cardinale at work

Roberto (Bob) Cardinale at work on the San Xavier Mission in his studio.

As a young man, Roberto “Bob” Cardinale embarked on a monastic life as a Benedictine monk at which time he earned a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy. After moving away from this lifestyle, he earned an MA in studio art from the University of Northern Colorado, followed by a Doctorate in art education from Arizona State University. At the beginning of his artistic career, he was a metalsmith, but after 22 years, health issues compelled him to give up metalsmithing, and he turned toward drawing and painting on architectural plans. This eventually led to the construction of small-scale 3D churches. Since the 1990s, the focus of Cardinale’s work has been the creation of churches or variations on the theme such as towers, graveyards and mission ruins. He has made well over 500 pieces including churches and synagogues from Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico as well as Italy, France, Spain and England. In 2009 he was named a Master of the Southwest by Phoenix Home and Garden magazine.

Patina Gallery and Tansey Contemporary have represented Cardinale’s artwork in Santa Fe, NM. He has also been represented by Leslie Levy Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ. His work can be found in the permanent collections of The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, NM, The Sangre de Cristo Center for the Arts, Pueblo, CO, The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM, The Billy Graham Museum of Art, Wheaton, IL, The Benedictine Museum of Art, Lyle, IL, and The Museum of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM. The Marshall Gallery in Scottsdale currently represents him.

Associated Programs:

Gallery Talk with Roberto Cardinale – Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 5pm–6pm at the museum. Tickets are $25 and include a signed copy of the exhibit catalog and admission to the wine and cheese reception following at 6pm.  Call the museum at 520-881-0606 or click here to purchase tickets >>

Opening Reception– Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 6pm–7pm at the museum. This wine and cheese reception is for members only or ticket holders to the proceeding Gallery Talk. This is a 21 and over event. Members please call the museum at 520-881-0606 to register. Online registration coming soon.

Exhibit Support and Sponsors:

AZ-Comm-Arts-2C-Logo-White-ƒ-150x89 This exhibit is supported in part by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, which receives support from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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