Abstraction in Action Ishmael Randall Weeks: Constructive Resistance https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/ishmael-randall-weeks-constructive-resistance/


Artist: Ishmael Randall Weeks 

Constructive Resistance
November 17, 2016 – December 23, 2016
Steve Turner 
Los Angeles, USA

Exploring the legacies of modernism and Arte Povera, Randall Weeks will present a room-sized sculptural installation, Ejercicios Para Un Nuevo Mundo V (Exercises For A New World V) that consists of cranium-size chunks of raw mineral ore (silver, gold and copper) sourced from three mines in the Peruvian Andes. The stones have been drilled and attached to steel-pipe armatures that were bent into forms representing outdoor playground structures common to Latin American housing developments of the 1960s.

Two wall works, Paisaje/Repisa I-II (Landscape/Shelf I-II) will also be presented. Each consists of shelves made of copper plating over steel that has been coated with the mineral dust that was left over from the process of creating the sculptural installation. The shelves hold a copperized mold of a calcified tree that was found in a mine, a copper-plated styrofoam plate, and some fragments of minerals.

Randall Weeks utilizes architecture as a metaphorical structure to address the impact of man on the landscape. He juxtaposes modernist architecture with structures common in Latin America–favela shacks, adobe and vernacular buildings–and he incorporates aspects of the do-it- yourself economy to find practical solutions when resources are scarce
December 27, 2016 Alexander Apóstol, Clarissa Tossin: Customizing Language https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/alexander-apostolclarissa-tossin-customizing-language/


Artists: Alexander Apóstol, Mely Barragán, Beatriz Cortez, Marcos Ramírez ERRE, Regina José Galindo, Luis G. Hernández, Camilo Ontiveros, Rubén Ortiz-Torres, Gala Porras-Kim, and Clarissa Tossin.

Customizing Language
Curated by Idurre Alonso and Selene Preciado
January 7 – February 14, 2016
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions)
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Customizing Language critically examines how language reflects geopolitical realities. The project approaches language as a tool to reflect power relations, hierarchies, social differences, and historical problems, as well as a cultural system of belonging that can indicate the loss or reconfiguration of certain kinds of identities. The participating artists engage local and historical issues by using experimental language to create a dialogue with the audience, exploring issues of “custom” as cultural tradition, U.S. Customs as an immigration agency, and lowrider customization in popular culture.

January 29, 2016 Anibal Vallejo: TRANSBORDER https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/anibal-vallejo-transborder/


Artists: Cyrcle, Jan Kaláb, Ox, Rero, Andrey Zignnatto, and Aníbal Vallejo.

January 30 – February 28, 2016
Fabien Castanier Gallery
Los Angeles, CA, USA

The exhibition centers around artists who challenge the idea of boundaries within art, both physical and ideological borders. Each artist presents new work for TRANSBORDER, examining the transitory elements of shape, color, form, and context within art making. The group exhibition takes a survey of how the language of both abstraction and figurative form can be conveyed throughout vastly different corners of the world.  Across borders of both time and space, these artists have created connectivity and conversation through creation.

From the curator
This exhibition aims to bring together, in a single physical space, artists from five nationalities, while also focusing on the artists’ variations in approaches, practices and techniques. So why did I want to bring these artists together in the same space and time? But also, why Transborder?

Firstly, art is for me a pretext for meetings and travel. Art is above all a human adventure. However art is also a coming together of objects, materials, and works that evoke an “emotional shock” that drives viewers to evolve ideas, perceptions, life trajectories and constructs of reality. I ask you to search your memory for a time that you, as a viewer, experienced a work by an artist you did not know, yet you sensed an inexplicable vibration. That same sensation in that precise moment has driven my desire to curate Transborder, to evoke these emotionally compelled experiences in viewers.

I have the feeling that what unites us all is the fact that we are all in the “fold”, i.e. that we have decided to place ourselves consciously or unconsciously to the limit of inside and outside as Michel Foucault suggested. “We must escape the alternative of outside and inside: we must be the border.”

TOP: Jan Kaláb | Black Planes, acrylic on cut-through canvases, 44 x 48 in. (112x121cm)



January 11, 2016 Clarissa Tossin: Unmapping the World https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/clarissa-tossin-unmapping-world/


Artist: Clarissa Tossin

Unmapping the World -Book release & Conversation with Michael Ned Holte
June 13, 2014
Samuel Freeman Gallery
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Unmapping the World is organized around a set of works produced by Clarissa Tossin over a period of five years during artist residencies, and commissioned by Brazilian and North American art institutions. These works manifest the development of a poetics that employs a wide range of strategies in order to address contemporary issues. Tossin’s objects, videos, and installations explore a broad and intricate spectrum of desires, impasses, and utopias, while also establishing their own expressive logic, above and beyond these topics.

Driven by the curiosity of the artist-anthropologist, Tossin’s works are formed through analysis of the politics of space and urban spaces, as well as interrogations into the mappings and discourses of power, relationships of consumption and identity, circulations of symbols and ideas, and the role of architecture—particularly that of Brasília, a modernist monument that she has come to call ‘home.’

The book is bilingual, in English and Portuguese, and includes texts by Moacir dos Anjos, Michael Ned Holte, and Guilherme Wisnik. The publication has been made possible by a fellowship from the California Community Foundation.

June 15, 2015 Clarissa Tossin: How does it travel? https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/clarissa-tossin-travel/


Artist: Clarissa Tossin

How does it travel?
May 29, 2015
Samuel Freeman Gallery
Los Angeles, CA, USA

How does it travel? brings together photographs, sculptures, prints, and site-specific works that analyze movements and their resulting displacements and transformations. She tracks materials, ideologies, and bodies that travel by foot, by car, by plane, and by her own hand. Using two primary nodes, Brazil and the United States, Tossin finds generative ground in transpositions that yield compelling misregistrations.

May 28, 2015 Pia Camil: The Little Dog Laughed https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/pia-camil-little-dog-laughed/


Artist: Pia Camil

The Little Dog Laughed
July 12 – August 23, 2014
Blum & Poe
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Camil presents three interrelated bodies of work — a large-scale hanging curtain, paintings, and ceramic vases — which are inspired and based on abandoned billboards found around Mexico. Camil appropriates elements, such as strips of color or fragments of a letter or number, and transforms public advertisements into intimate household items, emphasizing the dysfunctionality of a mass consumer lifestyle with a playful but critical gesture.

The title for the exhibition derives from John Fante’s novel Ask the Dust, where Arturo Bandini, a struggling writer based in Los Angeles during the Depression, publishes an insignificant short story titled The Little Dog Laughed.  The story’s publication offers Bandini a glimpse of success. Interested in the main character’s false sense of self, Camil delves into the relationship between the personal and public in a modern dystopia.

A large hanging curtain, which typically references domestic and interior space, partially covers the entrance to the gallery and alludes to the idea of a theater backdrop or spectacle (the word for billboard in Spanish is espectacular). In the middle of the room, a large billboard-like structure functions as both a transparent screen and a shelving unit. Upon closer inspection, handmade ceramic vases become visible through the sheer canvas.

The paintings, like the curtain, are created using hand-dyed and stitched canvas, which has often been related to the so-called feminine. Though shapes and colors are repeated, each piece is uniquely constructed in an artisanal manner in order to decelerate the process of massive cultural production. In The Little Dog Laughed, Camil engages with an abstract image in different ways, uncovering the symbols and messages encoded in the cultural landscape.

Pia Camil (b. 1980) lives and works in Mexico City. She has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art. In November 2014, she will complete a commission for the plaza of the Museo Jumex in Mexico City. She has exhibited internationally, including at ARTIUM, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; the Biennial of the Americas, Denver, CO; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; and Universidad de Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico.

July 15, 2014 Pacific Standard Time: L.A. / L.A. https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/l-a-l-a-the-getty-foundation/


Pacific Standard Time: L.A./L.A.

In the fall of 2011 Los Angeles celebrated the launch of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945—1980, an unprecedented collaboration of arts institutions across Southern California joining together to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene. Yet it was 230 years earlier, in 1781, that the city of Los Angeles itself was born when El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles was founded as part of New Spain. Thus, while Los Angeles often represents the vanguard of contemporary culture in the United States, it is at the same time a Latin American city of long duration.


Today, nearly half of the population of Los Angeles has roots in Latin America, contributing to Southern California as a lively center of artistic production and a natural nexus of cultural creativity between North and South. In recent years a number of exhibitions in the Americas and Europe have offered an introduction to the original and varied heritage of Latin America and the Latin American diaspora. Now there is an opportunity for a broader and deeper examination of this art through a renewed collaboration by the Pacific Standard Time partners. In the process, Southern California will play a significant role in the research and presentation of Latin American art.


L.A./L.A. will encompass exhibitions about the artistic connections between Los Angeles and Latin America, about the relationships between Latin America and the rest of the world, about the history of exchange among Latin American countries, or about the Latin American diaspora. Potential new research and exhibition topics could span diverse media, styles, themes, and time periods. Exhibitions could focus on the contemporary scene or could extend back in time to examine the development of modernism, the colonial era, or Pre-Columbian art as well as its continuing influence on modern art. Media might range from painting and sculpture to film and video, from murals to ceramics, from architecture to graphic design, or from conceptual art to land art, to name just a few. Exhibitions may also encompass diverse approaches, from surveys of a specific art movement to tightly focused monographic shows. L.A./L.A. also offers the opportunity for Southern California institutions to collaborate on projects with their counterparts in Latin America.

The Getty Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, USA

November 4, 2013 Clarissa Tossin https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/clarissa-tossin/

The notion of gesture is the primary impulse behind my work. My videos, photographs, installations, sculptures and drawings are the result of subtle gestures that intend to reveal what goes unseen or unexamined, be it architectural similarities between a settlement in the Amazon forest and a small town in Michigan or the intensive labor required to clean a pristine modernist government building in Brasília. Architecture, as a manifestation of identity, ideology and economic power is of great interest to me, as it is to investigate the invisible supporting structures of modernity, urban life and capitalism. In dialogue with these concerns are my interest in indexical processes and the cultural and historical connotations of a given material. My investment in indexicality stems from its intrinsic relationship to our bodies and therefore proximity to the real. Not unlike what happens with history and its material evidences. My works on paper exist in a place between bi and tridimensionality, as they usually hold object-like qualities. Double-sided prints, ink and paper disintegrated into dust, crushed folds and creases are some examples on how I treat surfaces as material. This approach triggers a tension between representation and trace while combining body movements to the articulation of ideas.

Traducido del inglés

La noción del gesto es el primer impulse detrás de mi obra. Mis videos, fotografías, instalaciones, esculturas y dibujos son el resultado de sutiles gestos que intentan revelar lo que pasa desapercibido o sin estudiarse, ya sea similitudes arquitectónicas entre una aldea en la selva Amazónica con un pueblito de Michigan; o la intensa labor requerida para limpiar un edificio gubernamental prístino en Brasilia. La arquitectura como manifestación de la identidad, ideología y poder económico es de gran interés para mí, como lo es investigar las estructuras de soporte de la modernidad que son invisibles, la vida y el capitalismo. En diálogo con estas preocupaciones está mi interés en los procesos de indicio y las connotaciones culturales e históricas de un material. Mi dedicación al indicio parte de su relación intrínseca con nuestros cuerpos y por tanto a la proximidad con lo real, no muy alejado de lo que pasa con la historia y sus evidencias materiales. Mi obra en papel existe en un lugar entre la bi y tridimensionalidad, ya que por lo regular poseen cualidades de objeto. Grabados de dos caras, tinta y pape desintegrados en polvo y dobleces machucados, son ejemplos de cómo manejo las superficies como material. Este acercamiento provoca una tensión entre la representación y el trazo mientras combino movimientos corporales a la articulación de las ideas.

Selected Biographical Information

Education / Training

Prizes / Fellowships

Solo Exhibitions

Group Exhibitions




October 9, 2013