Abstraction in Action Magdalena Atria, Ricardo Rendón & Mariángeles Soto-Díaz: Multifarious Abstraction https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/magdalena-atria-ricardo-rendon-mariangeles-soto-diaz-ruben-ortiz-torres-multifarious-abstraction/

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Artists: Magdalena Atria, Ricardo Rendón, Mariángeles Soto-Díaz, Rubén Ortiz Torres, and Antonio Muñiz.

Multifarious Abstraction
Curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill
June 20 – July 25, 2015
Fabien Castanier Gallery
Culver City, CA, USA

Multifarious Abstraction is an exhibition that questions traditional understanding of the nature of abstraction as a modern field separate from reality. The five artists participating in Multifarious Abstraction present conceptually challenging, loaded and sometimes political explorations of abstract vocabularies in art, which point to unique ways to experience and think on contemporary culture. The five artists are from Latin America, where the division between high and low culture is not as central or as marked as in The United States and Europe. The abstraction proposed here moves away from modernist utopian ideals and pure aesthetics, to dialogue with industrial and popular culture, daily life, inner struggle, politics and gender.

Magdalena Atria is exhibiting free abstract compositions entirely made with plasticine. The artist, who has developed an extensive oeuvre with this material, addresses painting through a material which is malleable, fragile, common and familiar, to produce slowly complicated surfaces that embody “tension between the rational and the emotional, between the personal and the collective, between the existential and the banal, the formal and the symbolic.” Atria attempts to connect the ideal, manifested through abstraction, with the daily and existential dimensions of concrete reality.

Antonio Muñiz is an artist who explores by an intuitive method ways to free the mind and perception from predetermined responses. He employs fumage, a technique for producing organic forms with a burning candle at varying angles and distance from the canvas, thus creating an uncontrolled compositional structure. Muñiz pursues the “gray area”, a multidimensional space that is both symbolic and psychological and deconstructs conditioning dualities such as black/white, outsider/insider, and right/wrong. The artist states: “The gray area is a non-judgmental, non-linear space where we allow ourselves to interact with our environment, breaking free of duality and of conditioned responses.”

Ricardo Rendón’s work is informed by his interest in traditional trades and materials, which are for the artist places of “creative learning”. He states: “My work is presented as a system of questioning of the creative practice, of the execution, productive realization and notion of work.” His mediums range from industrial materials, to sand paper, felt and leather; and his techniques from perforating, cutting, nailing, grinding, sanding, gluing, to welding. For Multifarious Abstraction, the artist exhibits work from the two series: Work Area and Lighting Circuits, with materials such as copper and industrial felt. He transforms a plumber’s purposeful and precise procedure for joining copper tubes into the method for creating free standing sculptures which reflect both on traditional knowledge and on contemporary art’s expansive possibilities.

Mariángeles Soto-Díaz uses the language of abstraction as a way to materialize and connect ideas. Her work explores critically the legacies of modernism, echoing the particular modern historical traditions of Venezuela in dialogue with modernity and abstraction in contemporary culture. For this exhibition she will be showing the site-specific installation The Pink Elephant in the Room, to insert into the White Cube the discussion of gender and racial inequality in the art world. As the artist explains: “The Pink Elephant in the Room addresses the ‘invisibility’ of these issues through indulging in the color pink as a feminist statement while also re-signifying upon the language of abstract painting.”

Rubén Ortiz-Torres is a multidisciplinary artist who goes back to the late 1980s. His work, whether it be photographs, paintings, movies or sculptures, is informed by a hybrid and original combination of popular and mass culture. One of the key references in his work is the low rider and car industry cultures. In his recent work, he experiments with the auto industry’s most recent advances in car paint. For example, his piece Womb Envy (2014), is made with urethane and thermochromic paint and high-density foam. This orange piece in the shape of a pregnant tummy, when touched with your fingers, becomes marked temporarily in yellow on the work’s surface. His black Mexican and American flags made with urethane and chromo-luminescent paint, exhibited in the show, refer on the one hand to modern issues of anarchist ideology, and on the other, to how these national symbols, especially in the context of recent events in Mexico and the USA (The Baltimore riots), may allow the political minority standpoints in contemporary society to be embodied.

Cecilia Fajardo-Hill is a British/Venezuelan art historian and curator. Fajardo-Hill specializes in modern and contemporary art with a focus in Latin American art. She has a PhD in Art History from the University of Essex, England, and an MA in 20th Century Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England. From 2005- 2008, Fajardo-Hill served as Director and Chief Curator for CIFO and the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, and from 2009-2012 served as Chief Curator at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach, CA. Presently, Fajardo-Hill is guest curator at the Hammer Museum, the Chief Curator of the Sayago & Pardon Collection and Abstraction in Action, and a visiting scholar at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. She is currently based in Los Angeles, CA.

May 27, 2015 Magdalena Atria: La montaña movediza https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/magdalena-atria-la-montana-movediza/

Atria-La Montaña Movediza-2014-Vista general2

Artist: Magdalena Atria

La montaña movediza
November 13 – December 27, 2014
Galeria XS
Santiago de Chile, Chile

La exposición reúne obras recientes realizadas en diferentes medios y materialidades, que en conjunto proponen una mirada singular sobre la forma en que nos aproximamos a la inescrutabilidad de la naturaleza, determinada por múltiples preconcepciones y definiciones variables de “lo natural” que sirven de fundamento para nuestras concepciones de la cultura, de la historia y del arte.

La pieza central de la muestra es un conjunto variado y multiforme de objetos de cerámica, a veces esmaltada, a veces intervenida con otros materiales; formas densas, compactas y pesadas que pretenden la tarea imposible de acercarse a la condición de las piedras, meras cosas que no han sido fabricadas por la mano humana sino por procesos naturales que se desarrollan en el interior del Planeta Tierra, donde sustancias minerales son sometidas a altísimas temperaturas para fundirse y posteriormente solidificarse, constituyendo lo que genéricamente llamamos piedra. Los procesos cerámicos reproducen, en una escala muchísimo menor y más controlada, aquellos procesos naturales para dar origen a objetos misteriosos, que reposan en sí mismos, confundiendo las categorías de lo natural y lo fabricado, que se emplazan como testigos mudos pero elocuentes de las fuerzas y acciones que los originaron.

Los acompaña una serie de dibujos realizados con hebras de lana sobre el muro que construyen, desde un gesto mínimo, una suerte de alfabeto compuesto por signos indescifrables, más relacionados con la manifestación de una fuerza leve e inexorable que con la arbitrariedad de los códigos lingüísticos.

Cierra el conjunto una pintura de mediano formato realizada con plasticina, material vulnerable por excelencia, que es el resultado de un proceso manual que reproduce también en pequeña escala los procesos tectónicos que, a proporciones inimaginables, han dado origen a muchas de las formaciones geológicas del planeta.

Atria-Glifos-2014-Fibra acrílica, clavos-Dimensiones variables
Atria-La Montaña Movediza-2014-Vista general
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Atria-La Montaña Movediza-2014-Vista general4
Atria-Septaria-2014-Plasticina sobre MDF-80x100cm

Images courtesy of the artist
December 11, 2014 Magdalena Atria https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/magdalena-atria/

Translated from Spanish

My work relates to the modernist tradition of geometric abstraction, but aiming to connect it to specific visual situations, found throughout the world. Differently from the traditional modernist abstraction that aspired to the absolute, to an incorporeal dimension of pure relations and exchanges, the focus of my work is rather in the impossibility of reaching that objective. Images, objects and materials that I use already possess or acquire through the work this double nature of contingency and idealism, and manifest the tension that keeps us permanently attached to one and yearn for the other. Some constants in my work are the tension between the rational and the emotional, the collective and the personal, the real and the ideal, the formal and the symbolic. I explore these notions through different mediums—painting, drawing, sculpture and photography—always with a particular emphasis on the materials and processes I utilize. These materials belong to specific uses and traditions and carry with them meanings and associations related to these origins.


Mi trabajo se relaciona con la tradición modernista de la abstracción geométrica, pero intenta conectarla con situaciones visuales específicas encontradas en el mundo. A diferencia de la abstracción dentro de la tradición modernista que aspiraba a lo absoluto, a una dimensión incorpórea de relaciones y correspodencias puras y permanentes, el foco de mi trabajo está más bien en la imposibilidad de alcanzar tal objetivo. Las imágenes, objetos y materiales que utilizo ya poseen, o bien adquieren en el trabajo esta doble condición de contingencia e idealidad, y manifiestan la tensión que nos mantiene permanente atados a una y anhelando la otra. Algunas constantes en mi trabajo son la tensión entre lo racional y lo emocional, lo colectivo y lo personal, lo real y lo ideal, y entre lo formal y lo simbólico: exploro estas nociones en diferentes medios: pintura, dibujo, escultura y fotografía, siempre con  un énfasis particular en los materiales y procesos que empleo. Los materiales que uso pertenecen a usos y tradiciones específicas y acarrean con ellos significados y asociaciones relativos a esos orígenes.

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October 4, 2013