Fusing Found Materials and Personal Experience, Alfredo Scaroina Taps into Collective Consciousness

There is art that is personal, and there is art that speaks to issues of the world at large. In abstract, multimedia works made from reclaimed materials, artist Alfredo Scaroina uses art as a way to tap into the collective consciousness and examine how ideas and expressions change from culture to culture. 

For Scaroina, art-making is a tool to absorb and digest the world around him. The Dominican artist, whose first New York show, “Reclamation,” runs through November 19th at UNIX Gallery, draws upon elements from a range of sources in his drawings and paintings, including everyday events and information, personal experience, the news, politics, language, and symbols—often quite literally. Newspaper clippings, sand, junk mail, dirt, metal scraps, and found fabric all make their way into his compositions. 

As Scaroina works, the accumulated materials and experiences determine the form and content of the work in a dialogue-like process. “These concepts of matter as art form translate into symbolism, urbanism and modernism, which are consummated through a direct affair of the creative process,” Scaroina has said of his process. After incorporating these materials find into the canvas or page, he transforms them with paint, encaustic, and archival solvents. On top of these amassed surfaces, he paints in numbers and symbols, adding to the complex yet harmonious effect. As the compositions evolve, their complex, layered surfaces begin to recall Robert Rauschenberg’s multimedia combines.

Though their sources may not be immediately recognizable to the viewer, Scaroina’s works include a range of found materials that imbue them with an uncanny sense of the familiar. As such, they reveal the subtle, sometimes unseen influences that shape perception, emotion, and understanding at a universal level. 

Alfredo Scaroina: Reclamation” is on view at UNIX Gallery, New York, Oct. 16–Nov. 19, 2014.

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