Artists should be guides to an alternative world, one that
is based in reality but manipulated through his inventions to resemble nothing ever seen before. Let the photographer present us with the all too real world. As a painter, I escape into another dimension — one where I invent a new vocabulary of depicting the figure, where color, form and gesture are more important than narrative; a universe of myriad lighting effects; a place where I am like a god wielding my brush, not captive to traditional notions of artistic rectitude. A surrealistic landscape of the body emerges, an anatomy of my own creation.
While I regard distortion necessary as a path to a different beauty and truth, I am also enamored of the sensuous volumes of the nude figure. They may be truncated or fragmented or metamorphosed, puzzle-like into the geometry of armor or architecture, but they always express the grandeur of the pose. Nothing is worse in art than being presented with a surfeit of information, as in photo-realism, so I endeavor to obstruct the eye/mind path so that one must work a bit to see the image and feel the personal triumph of discovery when it is found. However, while I am striving to create this new world of perceiving the figure, I sometimes re-visit reality to do a portrait of a friend or even a nostalgically academic nude study. In this respect I am by no means claiming to be consistent in style, and have even experimented with pointillism and flat two-dimensional compositions of figures.
Being schooled in the classic traditions of Hellenistic and Venetian Renaissance Art by my mentor, Edward Melcarth (painter and sculptor), I feel like an apostate as I rebel against his dogmatic teachings. While I respect the aesthetics in which he fervently believed I don't think artists should appropriate time-honored artifacts from a revered past in order to gain legitimacy. I like to think that I am not blindly following rules or slavishly rendering reality but "deepening the mystery" as the painter Francis Bacon posited as "the role of the artist". One thing does remain from my apprenticeship and that is the importance of rendering the heroic nude male figure, either as the athlete, the warrior, or more importantly as an idol, which seems to have been shunned by serious modern artists, at least in puritanical twenty-first century America. As a gay artist, my erotic preoccupation must unashamedly be the male nude. Why should I try to idolize the female nude, which has dominated art for five-hundred years? Resurrecting the erotic pose of a "sleeping satyr", the universally recognized martyr "St. Sebastian", or the iconic pose of a "river god", is to continue a tradition of male eroticism which ended in the post-Hellenic iconoclastic era. But I abstract them into a new visual world in which they are pulled apart or seen through scrims and opposing picture planes or pierced by the elemental forces surrounding them, the bright colors making an ironic commentary on the pathos or mocking the prurience of the pose.
The solitary male nude becomes the epic symbol of vulnerability, of a defeated or dying warrior. The idealized youth evinces the promise and optimism of life which will one day decay and die.
Art should not be polite nor should artists be dishonest to their true natures by avoiding their particular sexuality or in depicting the essentially sorrowful yet sublime nature of the human condition.

Richard Taddei
February, 2006

Pierced, truncated, gouged-out forms are the building blocks for my rendition of the male nude and portrait, dissecting the body, peering into its recesses, exposing its secret mechanisms.
I am fascinated by the forces of the universe, inner mysteries of our composition, and the forces attacking us, buffeting the body as if in a storm. The toy-like, robotic figures are caught in a freeze-frame metamorphosis through the geometry of their surreal puzzle-like environment, playful or menacing shapes acting upon or residing within them.
Poses conjure up images of martyrdom, tragedy, sometimes ecstasy. Gestures, whether battered, threatened, in the throes of pathos, or triumphant, breaking free of bonds, summon us to our battle with Time, diabolical powers and the outrages inflicted upon us in the ether of existence.

Richard Taddei
February, 2002