In 1987, at the Galería Durban in Caracas, the Venezuelan painter and sculptor Omar Carreño (1927?2013) presented Si todos los barcos del mundo, his exhibition of paintings of the sea and boats expressed in a highly synthesized Figurative language. This Figurative work might have come as a surprise, considering Carreño’s many years of work in the field of geometric Abstraction and his exploration of new ideas. His goal was to go beyond two-dimensional art and create works that included movement and involved interaction with the viewing public. When the critic Carlos Silva interviewed Carreño he sought to clarify the artist’s links to Figuration; he therefore provides important facts about Carreño’s experiments with that style that may not have been made public before. Silva also associates the maritime theme in the series Si todos los barcos del mundo with Carreño’s Informalist work in the 1960s, as expressed in his boat-related series El Nereida.
In closing, the critic discusses the artist’s stylistic change within the broader context of the Abstract movement’s loss of credibility as a producer of works that prompt social change accented by postmodernism’s random, somatic values. Beyond all that, ecological concerns take root in the disillusion caused by the demise of great discourses (grands récits) and in the need to find solutions to very different problems; the return to painting (the retour à l’ordre of the early twentieth century) and to Figuration during the 1980s reflects something of the difficulties that arise when the transformative spirit is split between nostalgia and critical attitude.
To read more about the visual language developed by this artist, see the essay by Víctor Guédez “La construcción de lo visual en Omar Carreño” . To read an interview by Alfredo Schael, see “Omar Carreño: premio a la constancia, al genio y a la rectitud del proceder creador” .