“Carreño’s paintings burst with abstract vitality. His mixed media paintings and works on paper continue the legacy of Surrealism in Latin American art, and also evoke European masters of abstraction such as Joan Miró and Paul Klee.
With a rigorous academic background gained in his six-year program at the National School of Fine Arts, Santo Domingo, in his native Dominican Republic, and the Arts Students League, in New York City, Carreño was attracted to abstraction for the freedom it offered him. In this mode, he found he could let his conscious thoughts engage formal artistic qualities of color, line, and structure while his subconscious often took an unpredictable course. Carreño candidly invites us to inspect his internal world that is full of lyricism, spirituality, playfulness, and expressiveness.”
Born 1963 in the Dominican Republic, his. He attended the National School of Art in Santo Domingo, and immigrated to the United States in the 1980s, to further his studies at the Art Students’ League in New York.
For Antonio, abstraction allows more freedom of expression, finding the mystery of his subconscious to be made tangible through his formal training.
Critics have said that Carreno’s works are “intertwined with the concept of writing and transmitting ideas of secret…messages,” that they represent an “effort to bring the viewer in contact with nature,” and that they reflect “the legacy of surrealism.” He told me he prefers “the freedom and the movement that you find in organic shapes,” but he also says he doesn’t think of his works as just paintings anymore but as “sources of energy” that “talk to you beyond the concrete matter that you are encountering.” He leaves the meaning of his symbols, however, up to each viewer’s individual imagination. However, Carreño’s marks—his confidently executed brushstrokes, scratches, and feather dustings—are uniquely his own, just like a signature.
Weather permitting, Carreno prefers to work outdoors where nature inspires his paintings. He lays his canvases or board-backed paper on a flat surface that becomes a painting table; moving around it as the painting grows. He states that many of the quick-drawn elements in his pictures come from nature that can be seen in the woods around his home.
The first process he uses is a ground layer of sand and polymer. He proceeds to apply color and drawings over this shallow relief map. The application of paint is similar to fresco painting if the polymer and sand are still wet. He feels that his best works are done quickly, preferring to work fast.
“In a universal way, we sometimes talk about the air as separate from the universe, but for me I look at the earth as part of the universe and most of the things in the universe are related to the earth. If we want to know the answers to the universe, we can look to the earth – its right in front of us,” the artist explains.