EBSQ Spotlight on Assemblages and Mixed Media: John Borrero

This month’s featured gallery is Assemblages and Mixed Media. It is arguably the most unique and diverse gallery at EBSQ.  Throughout May, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of our artists who drawn to create with a variety of materials.

John Borrero

Nike - John Borrero
Nike - John Borrero
What I enjoy most about making art from found objects is the moment of recognition… the “a-ha” moment of coming across a piece of metal or fabric and recognizing that it is not just an umbrella… but a flowing gown. And, not just a flowing gown, but the gown of a goddess.
A piece of mine that really speaks to this process is Nike, a mixed media sculpture that I completed about two years back. This piece began with a walk on the beach and a charred piece of driftwood, which forms the base at the center of the sculpture. When I found it, I thought it looked like a person standing upright. The top of that remnant wood is what you see as her chest. And, so she began.
Her gown is an old umbrella, with her shoulders and neck made from old fixtures that I’ve found on walks over the years. (I do my part to keep NYC streets clean!) The base is the top of an old copper tea kettle.  Next came the face and doll parts, which I thought both gave her dignity… a sense of being strong and composed. Then came the wings. That was new for me, andf this was my first piece to utilize actual wings (although not my last).
On one of my regular junk shop runs, I was approached by the proprietor about a taxidermy bird. Ordinarily, I would not have shown any interest, and in truth, I had no interest. Yet. It had become a routine of hers to gather the crooked, rusty, broken and clunky items and push them towards me on my visits, knowing that I had a soft spot for all things old and unsellable.  She said that this duck had been sitting on this shelf for over 7 years, and that it was much older than that. She was ready to just throw it away.
Something in her words resonated for me (which I believe was her plan) and I took a good first real look at it. In truth, it was beautiful. But it wasn’t just its beauty that struck me. Its usefulness has passed. Seven years. No one wanted it.
I took it, turned it around in my hands, brushed some dust off of the wings and said (mostly to the bird) “so, how would you like to be a goddess?”
The answer was Nike.

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