Michael Cardacino is a multi-media artist who creates contemporary artwork in the form of political satire and socio-political commentary, using current events that constitute much of the subject matter at the nation's colleges and universities and that prompt informal campus discussion among students and faculty alike. The works . . . political correctness, greed, persons in positions of power and the mass media." His work, built with popular images and ideas appropriated from the streaming collective consciousness -- including the Internet, TV, movies, cave painting, stand-up comedy and his own photographs – constitutes a kind of sensory language that can be easily read, the purpose of which is to foster compassion through recognition and understanding.
By mixing images of real-life people and objects which have historical and cultural significance, with cartoon-like figures and objects, the artist hopes to excite an appreciation of how a simple and accessible style can prompt consideration of serious subject matter. For example, in a digital collage work titled, “Integrity Protecting the Works of Man Revisited,” manipulated images of multiple Mr. Money Bags, from the board game Monopoly, are combined with an altered photograph of the exterior of the New York Stock Exchange, which has added to it a vast below-ground chasm filled with a gigantic pile of human skulls and cartoon bags of money, which are being tossed down from the Exchange’s balcony by several Mr. Moneybags. Size, scale and materials are, of course, selected with an eye to enhance a particular theme and mood.
The more subtle purpose of Cardacino’s art involves leading the viewer away from consciousness of the self into being a witness for humanity. In his series Portraits of Thought, a work titled “Monicagate,” a collective portrait of former President Bill Clinton, his intern, Monica Lewinsky, First Lady Hillary Clinton, prosecuting Attorney, Ken Starr and key witness Linda Tripp, ninety images of each individual, placed side by side appear as a stop-motion time line of their thoughts, revealed in their emotional expressions. A single frame of a recognized emotion, can momentarily halt time when the viewer’s perspective is shifted from judgmental thoughts to empathy. A viewer, it is hoped, would draw the conclusion that by stopping the movement of thought, psychological suffering and conflict would end and result in ideas and action not burdened by self interests but shared ones.