Abstraction in Action Patrick Hamilton: Black Tools https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/patrick-hamilton-black-tools/


Artist: Patrick Hamilton

Black Tools
January 28, 2016 – May 14, 2016
The 9.99 Gallery 
Guatemala City, Guatemala

True to the conceptual nature of his work, Hamilton refers to the political history of his country through a series of collages and sculptures, which he has produced in the last year, and which broadens and deepens his aesthetic reflections on major issues affecting contemporary societies, particularly those that refer to labor and social inequality in Chile in recent years. These reflections analyze the consequences of the “neoliberal revolution” (Thomas Moulian) implemented in Chile by Pinochet — and the “Chicago School” — during the eighties and its projection in the social and cultural milieu in a post-dictatorship Chile; they result in works that can be read from the notion of “social forms” (Christian Viveros-Fauné), thanks to their economy of expressive resources and their deep bond with the analysis of social, political, and economic phenomena. Hamilton’s production could be described as realist art in relation to the exaltation of the physical qualities of his works, as well as a consideration of the concrete phenomena of our social reality.

Through the manipulation of tools used for manual labor, the artist creates objects that represent and act as metaphors in the increasingly precarious world labor economy. The formal character of the work is provided by another of Hamilton’s great source of inspiration: the History of Art. So, is the work of the constructivists, concrete art, and Suprematism — in this case Kasimir Malevich’s emblematic black square — which serves as a link between the economy of gestures and means, the use of monochrome and the formal rigor with spatulas, pikes, and sandpaper, which leave behind their functionality and remain at the mercy of anyone who wants to contemplate them.

The placement of the works in the space resembles a shadow theater, with pieces that disguise their materiality and communication function, a contradiction between the visible and invisible, transparent and opaque, opposites that in contemporary societies contribute to the concealment of problems of unemployment, shadow economies, and illegal work that become a precarious solution to the lives of millions of individuals.

April 25, 2016 Darío Escobar, Patrick Hamilton: Pero no soy fotógrafo https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/dario-escobar-patrick-hamilton-pero-soy-fotografo/


Artists: Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Darío Escobar, Alexandra Grant, Patrick Hamilton, Sandra Monterroso, Gabriel Orozco, Sebastián Preece, Richard Prince, Isabel Ruíz, Inés Verdugo.

Pero no soy fotógrafo / But I am not a photographer
November 5, 2015
The 9.99 Gallery
Guatemala City, Guatemala

In Roland Barthes’s book La Chambre Claire (1980), he explains that the critical part of photography focuses on the mechanical moment. The moment in which the brain decides and the finger clicks is the moment in which the “[t]he obstinacy of the referent in being there, always there” is present. Currently, that moment continues to be the most important; it is the one that makes the difference between points of view. Photography as a technique has rapidly shifted from the dark room into digitalization. When it started in the nineteenth  century, it was a contraption. The expertise one needed to have in physics for the light aperture, along with the chemistry knowledge required to reveal the images have all but faded away. Technological advances allow many of us to carry a camera in our pocket.

Photography’s goal is to capture a moment that takes place only once, whether it is in the various classifications borrowed from academic painting: still-life, landscapes, people and historical moments. The way in which we approach them, and the stories that these images tell us, are not from a specific moment; but rather from the combination of several moments: to click, to develop, to manipulate, and finally, to single that moment and to make its invisibility present.

The exhibition consists of 27 pieces, which presentation starts from a photographic aspect challenging its more orthodox definition as it returns to an academic classification. Installed in a “cabinet of curiosities” style, we see a small compilation of works that goes from landscape to photographs of historical moments, in different formats and presentations, highlighting its rareness or its single imperfection as “impure” photography.

The exhibit starts with the hesitation and manipulation of the countryside landscapes Paisajes Perforados I y II  (Perforated Landscapes I and II, 2009) by Patrick Hamilton (Chile, 1974), whose dalliances venture into his well-known photographic shots and manipulations of building materials in the series Proyectos de arquitecturas revestidas para la Ciudad de Santiago (Architectural projects re-covered for the City of Santiago, 2008) or Posters (2008), and returns to the landscapes, not only to manipulate them but to turn them into three-dimensional objects, based on repetition and reflection, as in the case of his most recent piece Escape al Paraíso (Escape to Paradise, 2014) and Spatula #1 (2015).

Playing with repetition, The less things change, the less stay the same (2013) by Alejandro Almanza Pereda (Mexico, 1977), a work that obtained an honorific mention at the XVI Bienal de Fotografía in 2014 at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City, here we see a series of moments in an exercise of constructive transformation of materials, tinged with nostalgia, which will be reactivated in Geometría Imperfecta(Imperfect Geometry, 2012) of Darío Escobar (Guatemala, 1971), but where instants are even more ephemeral as light is the main composition and appeal, or in the case of Untitled (2002) where memory is contained in the  oil stains.

At first sight, the photography Dot Ball (1992/1996) of Gabriel Orozco (Mexico, 1962) could be a ready-made of a balloon in the middle of nature. In reality the manipulation of an object within its context gives it a particular placement, which is one of the more evident features of portraiture. Although we usually refer to a portrait as the likeness of a person, the truth is that a person’s own objects also speak about their specific characteristics; they show us the “observing subject,” as is the case of the series Equilibrio (Equilibrium) by Patrick Hamilton and Volume XIV (2008) of Sebastián Preece (Chile, 1972).

The human figure is revisited in the gestures of Alexandra Grant (United States, 1973). In her series Shadows, a collaboration with the actor and writer Keanu Reeves, the technical manipulation creates a game of colors, shadows, and movement. This, on the other hand, is hidden in the work by Richard Prince (United States, 1949) where the manipulation is referred to as a physical object—Bill Powers’s novel What we lose in flowers (2012). The pin-up style female nude, behind a strip that reminds us of DVD titles, gives a new meaning to the idea of mixed media. compare hotel prices The human figure is also the protagonist in Sandra Monterroso’s performance documentation (Guatemala, 1974), Tu Ashé Yemaya(2015), presented in the 12 Bienal de La Habana, and in the light boxes of Isabel Ruiz (Guatemala, 1945) in the series Río Negro (1988), where photography is on the verge of gesture. Finally, the exhibition closes with a gaze looking at another gaze, that of Inés Verdugo (Guatemala, 1983) in her work Continuidad (Continuity, 2015).

 While at the beginning of photography the end of painting was predicted, today the photographic image has become such a generalized practice that “we are all photographers.” However, photography is still a specialized field where questions of light, focus, and perspective are endless challenges to overcome.

October 27, 2015 Erica Muralles Hazbun: Cualquier otra realidad https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/erica-muralles-hazbun-cualquier-otra-realidad/


Artist: Erica Muralles Hazbun

Cualquier otra realidad / Any other reality
October 15 – November 5, 2015
Sol del Rio Gallery
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Solo show by Erica Muralles Hazbun.

October 26, 2015 Erica Muralles Hazbun https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/erica-muralles-hazbun/

Through my work I revert the process in which form follows function, referring to actions that hold an established order in society. My purpose is not to build a closed, perfect system, but one that is interwoven with life. This is obtained by interlocking and linking a series of different materials consistently—from chaos to order—by weaving or joining them through other means. Where small changes in initial conditions can lead to large differences in future behavior, preventing long-term prediction.

My work comes from an empirical process that is in constant renewal, where the visual or formal aspects enter into dialogue with the symmetrical composition inherent in everything that human beings design and build. It is sensorial and appeals to a modular design or repetition as a starting point. Dynamic monotony is used as a creative impulse as a vital generator of inquiry. I analyze patterns of human behavior, the quotidian and what takes place in everyday life, what we perceive, and what defines our identity, our mission and place in our environment. My aesthetic concerns are immersed in the present reflecting change in my images. This process helps me to organize reality through representation.


En mi trabajo revierto el proceso en donde la forma sigue a la función, haciendo referencia a las acciones que tienen un orden establecido en la sociedad. Mi objetivo no es construir un sistema cerrado, perfecto, pero uno que se entrelaza con la vida, por lo azaroso e imprevisto. Esto lo obtengo mediante el enlace de series de distintos materiales de manera coherente –del caos al orden—al entrelazarlos o al unirlos por otros medios. En donde pequeñas variaciones en las condiciones iniciales pueden implicar grandes diferencias en el comportamiento futuro, dificultando la predicción a largo plazo.

Mi trabajo viene de un proceso empírico, que se encuentra en constante renovación, donde los aspectos visuales o formales dialogan con la composición simétrica inherente en todo lo que diseña o construye el ser humano. Es sensorial, apela a la modulación y a la repetición como método o punto de partida. La monotonía dinámica es utilizada como impulso creativo, como generador vital de indagación. Reflexiono sobre los patrones de comportamiento en el ser humano, lo cotidiano y lo que toma lugar en la vida diaria, lo que percibimos y nos define como personas, nuestro lugar y misión en nuestro entorno. Mis preocupaciones y estética están inmersos en el presente, lo que refleja el cambio en mis imágenes. Este proceso me ayuda a organizar la realidad a través de la representación.

Selected Biographical Information

Education / Training

Prizes / Fellowships

  • 2011: Primer Lugar – Artista menor de 30 años –III Salón Nacional del Grabado-, Banco G&T Continental, Guatemala, Guatemala.

Group Exhibitions



August 29, 2014 Diana de Solares https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/diana-de-solares/

About the Artist

¨Where are we when we are in the world?¨

This question has led me to explore the notions of space and place.

My constructions and environments are mostly made out of various found objects, images and materials, some of them belonging to a domestic, industrial or construction milieu. The site, its space and architectural components are key in shaping the works. I use straight lines and the continuous expanse they occupy and define. Thus, my works approximate provisional drawings in space and about space, aiming at a perceptual, pre-reflexive experience.

The process begins with the creation of three-dimensional structures which in turn, give place to drawings on paper that allow me to complete the concept.

Construyo estructuras y ambientes condicionados por el sitio en cuestión, que se relacionan íntimamente con los elementos arquitectónicos vecinos. Se trata de corporeizar el espacio, volviéndolo parte esencial de la obra. Utilizo materiales y objetos encontrados pertenecientes a lo cotidiano, a la construcción y al desecho. Más que esculturas o instalaciones, se trata de dibujos provisionales en el espacio tendientes a desaparecer. Me interesa la experiencia perceptual, pre-reflexiva, que coloca al espectador en un instante de conciencia de sí mismo.

El proceso comienza con la creación de una estructura tridimensional, la cual a su vez, da lugar a dibujos sobre papel que me permiten completar la idea.

Selected Biographical Information

Education / Training

Prizes / Fellowships

Solo Exhibitions

Group Exhibitions




October 9, 2013