Omar Carreño was born in Porlamar, Venezuela and studied both in Venezuela, at the Escuela de artes Plásticas y Aplicadas, and in Europe, in Paris, Rome and Venice.
While in Paris, Carreño joined Los Disidentes, a group of Venezuelan artists residing in Paris who rejected the traditional artistic education received in their home country. Thus Carreño became interested in the abstractionist tendencies of the time.
By 1950 he had made many abstract paintings. His Tres Tiempos, a geometric work from1950 is now in the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros collection in Caracas. This predates Soto’s abstract work.
In 1951 Carreno began making geometric works that were transformable and manipulable, which he called “polipticos.” In May 1952 he had a one man show at the Galeria Arnaud in Paris entitled “Peintures reliefs” in which he exhibited these irregular and transformable works. One of these, “Poliptico 4” was reproduced in the memorial album of the 6th Salon de Realites Nouvelles, published in 1952. It was also a stellar attraction for an individual exposition of 96 of Carreno’s works in 1983 at the Museo Espanol de Arte Conemporaneo in Madrid (now the Reina Sofia), and was used as the poster for the show. Many of these works are now in the collection of the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas.
Early in 1952 Luis Guevara Moreno invited Carreno to participate in a MADI show at the Galeria Suzanne Michel in Paris. Thus Carreno’s irregular transformable works were exhibited a full year and a half before the first Yaacov Agam exhibit in Paris in the fall of 1953. Carreno, rather than Agam, is the initiator of transformable works in the post war era. Carreno initiated works of transformable light in 1967. He continued having individual expositions in France, Spain, Venezuela and Italy, and participated in the Venice Biennial of 1972. He wrote several “Manifiesto Expansionistas” about transformable art and other articles about the relation between art and science.
Today he works both in Caracas and in Paris.