b. 1944 Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
1972 MFA University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA
1967 BSc University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA
Lives and works in Houston, TX, USA
Influenced by the Arte Povera movement and its usage of found materials in their fragmented forms placed outside their usual context, Al Souza has been working with found materials such as newspapers, jigsaw puzzles and vintage film posters.
In his works of puzzle pieces on wood such as Hold Your Head High, 2006, Souza explores the mundane, the fancy and the nostalgia: elements from American consumer culture: the banal objects and junks are assembled in muti-layers. The juxtaposition of each puzzle is entirely dependent on the artist’s ‘stream of the consciousness’.
Unlike a real jigsaw puzzle that can be reassembled anytime to produce an identical image over and over again, Souza’s puzzles, glued on wood panels, are one-time puzzles, just like objects and junk depicted on the piece. Each time, there will be a different image based on chance. Souza is heavily influenced by John Cage’s music, Fontana Mix in particular, in which the composer randomly cut holes in the music sheet to reveal notes from the other sheet underneath it.
Souza won numerous awards including the Houston Art League’s Texas Artist of the Year in 2006 and in 2007 received the International Association of Art Critics’ USA Award in 2007. His works are held in the public collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, USA and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France. Souza has also received numerous corporate commissions including Goldman Sachs American Airlines, the Federal Reserve Bank, Plaza Hotel New York, Phillip Morris Company and Chase Manhattan Bank.