William Cilento
artist / painter

William Cilento is a Self-Taught Painter from The Bronx, New York, born in June of 1969. His work has been shown in various New York galleries and can found in private collections internationally.

William was represented by Ezair Gallery in New York from 2001-2012 in which I was presented in ‘Solo’ exhibitions seven times and in multiple group shows in Manhattan New York, Southampton and Greenport, New York. The gallery closed in 2012 when gallery owner and friend Marijana Bego committed suicide in December of that year.

William lives with his wife Michelle and three children in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. His studio is a converted engineer’s garage built by the previous owner who was a mechanical inventor. Of his workspace he has said, “It’s great I can bang around, play music make a mess and completely disappear into my own world there, my wife interprets our move from Manhattan as, we basically bought a garage with a small house to store her, the kids and dogs in so that I can visit on rare occasions.”

William began painting seriously in 1995, stating that for several years prior “I became interested in finding an outlet that was solely creative and completely independent. Painting became a form of isolation and connection at the same time, a timeless underground where only a few understood the language.” William’s original influences were Goya, Soutine, Picasso and Bacon but as the years have gone on and since being an autodidact, He has said to become interested in painting as a subject in and of itself. He’s moved more toward atmospheric abstractions that contain emotional elements transferred through physicality and gesture which depart from that of ‘picture’ and lead more to the creation of an ‘object’, which is more commonly referred to as process art. His work alternates between figuration, abstraction and the combination of both. Of his his large body of work he says, “Regardless of what I do I consider the images I create a personal mythology dealing with what psychologists term the ‘Self’.”

Since 1992 William has worked for the Department of Education in Manhattan and The Bronx, as a teacher for students who are unable to leave their homes or hospital due to mental, emotional or physical disabilities. Of this he has said, “Many of my students are severely handicapped and often terminally ill. This occupation has challenged and humbled me, it’s also served as an emotional impetus in my work. Contrary to other Artists who dream of quitting their ‘day job’, Ive learned the importance and value of my interaction and hopeful assistance to those who most need it. It’s also helped me put ‘Life’ in perspective, as Bukowski said it best, ‘Nobody suffers like the ill and poor.'”

What is ‘Art’, but a sublimation of emotion and life’s experiences?

“As a painter, I’ve worked in many different genres but I always look for some form of ‘revelation’ in the process. Ive always juxtaposed between abstraction, figuration or some combination of the two. Regardless, I experiment with ‘Painting’ on a daily basis and and each passage of paint bares some form of ‘feeling’ for my state of being at that time. In short, I’m more concerned with the poetry of lived experience and the moment of action that can relate to it physically into material, image and object than with narrative, entertainment and design.

My recent work has to do with assemblage and deconstruction, it’s perhaps a commentary on my accumulation as an Artist, having to do with reassessing older works and incorporating a measure of ‘Time’ and physicality within the given piece.

I often use gestural marks, throws of paint and cut up and connect my other paintings together to affect this.

When a piece comes together well, I often laugh at my idiocy and think, 20 years of painting and if I don’t drop dead from the fumes, I might be on to something.”

–William Cilento