Oscar Rene Cornejo makes abstractions from excavated materials and images, imbuing them with cultural and historical cues. With a background in pedagogy and activism, Cornejo's socially engaged practice draws together histories of abstraction in the U.S. and Latin America with personal experiences of the construction site, family memory, and historical forgetting. His work is guided by an ongoing inquiry into citizenship, law, power, and sites of inclusion and exclusion.
Cornejo is concerned with displacement and resilience, especially as they manifest themselves through memory and quotidian objects. His sculptural paintings oscillate between poetics and politic as he threads together historical narratives which have been fragmented by institutionalized and systematic violence. In his combines and modular prints, Cornejo reconciles fragments of history (both personal and national) to activate narratives of the Central American diaspora. Cornejo explores the conflict between the memory of civil war and how it is taught; the breaking of these narratives is a social condition that shapes the lives and concerns of many first-generation Salvadoran artists working in response to their parents' civil war.
Oscar Rene Cornejo (b. 1982) is currently based in New York City. In 2004, he cofounded the Latin American Community Art Project (LA CAPacidad), where for seven years he directed summer artist residencies to promote intercultural awareness through community art education. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions, including Collective Solid, Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, TX (2015); and Parliament of Owls, Diverseworks, Houston, TX (2015). A solo exhibition of his paintings and writing will open at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 2017. He has completed residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he has been a member of the staff since 2015, and at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. He received a Fulbright to El Salvador in 2007. Cornejo holds a BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art and an MFA from Yale University.