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My work consists of assemblage constructions utilizing found objects, antique photographs and postcards, old books, newspapers, etc.  The assemblages are typically created within found or constructed wooden boxes with glass fronts, although a few are free standing box sculptures.  The contained objects are used to interpret cuentos (stories), dreams and myths.  I see my work as being allegorical and narrative – shrines to the human condition.  In my work, I attempt to reach out and make personal connections using seemingly unconnected objects.


I try to convey and create relationships amongst previously unrelated objects, offering the observer an opportunity to re-see or re-think an idea.  Many of my personal memories and life experiences are often contained in these pieces and the observer also frequently finds a connection to his or her own memories and experiences.




The construction of a piece involves using gesso and paint in numerous layers and the resulting natural cracking of the surface is intentional.  Sometimes objects or images are attached first and then covered in layers of gesso and paint.  I then scrape away the surface to reveal the objects or images – a sort of reverse archaeology, a way to find what messages are hidden.

The very term “assemblage” seems to carry an idea of mixture, multiples, and quantity.  My earlier work reflects this notion.  In the past few years, however, my storytelling imagery seems to have become more direct and to the point.  I believe this evolution began when I reduced the materials as an experiment and as an attempt to strip away decoration to see how little is really required to complete the piece.


This process of reduction now enables me to say much more.  It is, of course, a constant challenge not to give in to mere visual appeal by adding interesting objects.  For me, my true success in completion of a piece or a series is holding out for the clarity and substance that only a few carefully chosen elements can convey.  The resulting pieces now seem to me to be more honest and, in their honesty, present a clearer reflection of myself.

John Salgado

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