Painter and sculptor. Son of goldsmith Daniel Carreño and Antonia María Rodríguez. Between 1948 and 1950 he studied at the School of Plastic and Applied Arts. In this period his work has as reference the pre-Columbian painting and geometric figuration. In 1950, already in Paris, he was part of the group Los Disidentes and collaborated in the activities of the Free Art Workshop of Caracas. Carreño adhered to the abstractionist tendencies of the time. Early begins to make its first reliefs transformable by the viewer through a system of hinges; Pierre Descargues called them Polípticos and Carreño presented them in the Arnaud Gallery in 1952, a year and a half before Yaacov Agam presented works with similar proposals in the Craven Gallery, in 1953. One of these polyptychs was reproduced in the catalog of the VI Salon des Réalités Nouvelles (Paris, 1951). He studied engraving at the Superior School of Fine Arts and at the Louvre School. In 1952 he participated in the "First sample of abstract art", in the Cuatro Muros Gallery in Caracas. That same year he exhibited with Édgar Negret in the collective "Divergences Group: 13 Painters, 4 Sculptors" (Gallery of Babylone, Paris). The following year he published "Idées de l'artiste" (Cimaise, 4-5, Paris, July 1953), a text that will be called pre-manifesto in the article by Diablo Cojuelo (Antonio Muiño) entitled "Expansionism, the last 'ism' invented in Paris by Omar Carreño, abstract painter "(El Nacional, December 31, 1953). In 1953 he made sculptures-poems and his first Ojos de buey (tableaux-objets), some of them transformable. As the only Latin American participates in the exhibition "The synthesis of the arts", in the IX CIAM, organized by Le Corbusier, in Aix-en-Provence. In 1955 he returned to Venezuela and made the first sculptures in metal and paint with lacquer. That same year, an abstract sculpture in iron and copper was completed for the entrance hall of the El Conde Hotel, in Caracas. He was artistic director of the magazine Integral de Caracas (1956-1958), has also collaborated in the magazines Cimaise in Paris, Nuestro Tiempo in Buenos Aires, Cruz del Sur in Caracas and Arte y Sociedad in Rome. In 1956 he called the first meetings for the formation of the expansionist movement, which flourished the following year, and wrote "Limit and Expansion of Space" (Integral, 4. Caracas, June 1956). In the 18th Salón Oficial of 1957 he received the Puebla de Bolívar Prize, for his stable iron sculpture nº 1, the first abstract sculpture awarded in Venezuela. That same year he executed a mobile sculpture of iron 10 m high, for the Municipal Plaza de Pariata; the blades of the structure rotated driven by the wind. Performs internal and external polychromy, with a mural on the outside of the auditorium of the Faculty of Dentistry of the UCV, the only building fully commissioned to an artist by the architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva, in the project of integration of the arts of the City University of Caracas. In 1958 he was appointed commissioner by Venezuela and jury of the Grand Prize at the Venice International Biennial. Write "Art and technique of expression", fundamental text to understand his work (El Nacional, January 28, 1960).
From 1960 to 1963, he settled in Paris, received classes from René Huyghe at the Sorbonne and from Pierre Francastel at the Louvre School (art history and museology). From this moment on he tackles the abstract informalism, a stage in which it will be reminiscent of sea beds and that will end at the end of 1965. In 1962 he participates with informalist works in "Latin American Art in Paris" of the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, works that acquire the writer Romain Gary and the actress Jean Seberg. In 1965 he traveled to Rome, concluding his informal stage with the so-called "Tintas Únicas" series, and began his studies of conservation and restoration of cultural assets in UNESCO's ICCROM.
In 1985 he settled in Paris for five months and began a synthesis-abstract stage, focusing on the subject of ships, which lasted until 1992. In 1991, he obtained the title of architect at the UCV. Following in the footsteps of the fifties, he explores a sufficiently undeveloped aspect of the organization of verticals and horizontals worked as pieces or laymen, on the world of abstraction. The GAN has an important representation of his work, among them, early pieces such as Triptych A (1951, enamel on wood) and geometric composition (1959, lacquer on wood). His role as a pioneer of geometric abstraction has not been sufficiently underlined by critics. Manuel Quintana Castillo said: "Omar Carreño is the classic of the Venezuelan abstract: he has been for local abstractionism what Juan Gris was for cubism at the time". For his part, Roberto Guevara has concluded that his images "are not only transformable, but become the curious realm of virtual continuity, in events of an indeterminate space." To such an extent are implied and confused the real plans and the Results of reflections and internal changes From one series of colors and shapes to another, depth is also manifested as a negation of logical dimensions, they are sender images that pass from one spatial signal to another. so to speak, the physical reality of a visual reality of appearances "(1981, p.25).