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.