Cardillo's work reflects an intense relationship with ecology that involves both concerns and observations. Since the late 1960's, he has exhibited frequently both in the United States and internationally, often in installations.
Rimer Cardillo describes this most recent work:
These new series of boxes encapsulate environments, objects, and images that I came into contact with and imagined during my travels in the Amazon Rain Forest and in the landscape of New York's Hudson Valley. These boxes from a traveler also represent ideas and thoguhts that I have played with while involved in different art projects in this last decade. I sketch things I see and images that come to mine while I traverse many realities and environments. I work closely with carpenters and bronze casters, these boxes intend to show the excellent and sophistication of craftsmanship obtained by family trained, traditional artisans. These containers and their objects, drawings in metal, ceramic pieces, engraved small bronzes, were finished for close examination and tactile contact with the materials. It is the inten for the view to experience the unity of concapt and craft as an expression of the human knowledge.
An excerpt from Karl Emil Willers' essay, written for the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on Rimer Cardillo's exhibition, Impressions and Other Images of Memory:
For Cardillo, the box itself possesses a metaphorical plurality and psychological dualism; in some cases an object gather into a box had already appeared in a print, while in other instances items accumulated within a collection would only infiltrate into the artist's printmaking repertoire with time. Eventually, the Collection Boxes and their contents became the central subject matter and the primary source materials for Cardillo's art.