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Alfonso Ossorio: The Shingle Figures, 1962-1963

September 11 – November 8, 1997


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Alfonso Ossorio began his artistic evolution with Surrealism in the late 1930s and 1940s and developed with the abstract expressionists during the 1950s. In 1960, he began creating elaborate and provocative assemblages of found materials including glass eyes, bones, shards of mirror, sea shells, plastics, and pieces of wood. He called these works “Congregations” and the “Shingle Figures” are among his earliest “Congregations”.

The Shingle Figures are assemblages created in relief. The various found objects are mounted on wood shingles, approximately 16” x 12”, which may have once been used as siding for a house. The vibrant and complex Shingle Figures suggest distorted human forms, faces and bodies. In most cases, the Shingle Figures are presented on their own, but Ossorio would occasionally build around the individual Shingle Figure, making it the core of a more elaborate Congregation.

Alfonso Ossorio: The Shingle Figures, 1962-1963 is accompanied by a fully illustrated color catalogue with an essay by B.H. Friedman and photographs of Ossorio by Hans Namuth. B.H. Friedman was a friend of Ossorio and the author of the major monograph, Alfonso Ossorio, published in 1974 by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

This exhibition coincides with a major exhibition of Congregations at the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY scheduled from August 16 through September 28, 1997.