Abstractions That Epitomize the US’s Inherent Violence

LOS ANGELES — When folks focus on their understanding of the violence underlying the logic of latest United States society and capitalism, they usually level to a second of awakening, a time frame once they began to see — and will not unsee — the best way the system operates.

Standing in entrance of artist Linda Arreola’s newest vary of summary works, I discovered myself switching between two views. One is what I may instantly see: the formal fantastic thing about them, with sharp traces, daring colours, and compositions that construct from her early explorations in abstraction. As she notes in her artist statement, she’s drawn by the shapes of circles and squares to discover “the common-or-garden icons of a grand spirit.”

However within the warmth of 2020 to 2023, when so many people had been locked down, Arreola started to include phrases and architectural parts into her artwork. It’s this second view of her work that caught me without warning. Drawing from Mesoamerican architectural kinds, she continues her explorations of abstraction however inserts phrases and phrases that, in my thoughts at the least, pithily describe the brutal logics round profitable and ageism — U LOST I WON, LITTLE GRAY HAIRS, EYE ON PRIZE.

The artist’s latest physique of work, largely acrylic on canvas, makes up Linda Arreola: Abstract Wanderings from the LA Borderlands 2020–2023, on view this month at Avenue 50 Studios in LA’s Highland Park neighborhood. In “Uvalde Youngsters” (2022), for instance, sturdy vertical traces and bins with dot matrices seem like the doorway to a gate or temple. However when the phrase “CHILDREN” emerges on both facet of the canvas, the composition begins to seem like the doorway to a college — the exact same one which police delayed entering as the shootings occurred.

In “U Misplaced / I Received” (2021), the 4 architectural home windows include X’s and O’s, just like the kisses and hugs one would possibly ship a defeated opponent. And “Dump” (2022) reads like a vertical flag, with grey, pink, yellow, and black channeling towards, properly, a dump. Within the context of a present in regards to the borderlands, it made me consider the city’s illegal dumping problem, which spiked throughout the pandemic. “As a substitute of the hopeful aspiration or non secular contemplation of earlier works, these work are tuned into an anxious consciousness of numbers, items, and quantities,” curator Nicolas Orozco-Valdivia writes within the exhibition catalogue. “Fairly than meditate or swirl or come collectively, they triangulate, multiply, and accumulate.”

As I circled the gallery to soak up the artwork, I famous as soon as extra the backwards and forwards between appreciating their formal composition after which absorbing the small messages sprinkled in. I imagined Arreola wandering in her thoughts throughout lockdown, similar to me, searching and asking how such a brutal world may proceed, and why it’s so arduous to unsee. If we perceive spirituality to incorporate the daring exploration of the shadows’ interplay with what’s on the floor, this subsequent stage of her work is simply as non secular in my thoughts, maybe extra so.

Lynda Arreola, “Uvalde Youngsters” (2022), acrylic and graphite on canvas diptych, 48 x 48 inches
Lynda Arreola, “Eye on Prize” (2021), acrylic on canvas triptych, 48 x 72 inches
Lynda Arreola, “Dump” (2022), acrylic and graphite on canvas diptych, 48 x 72 inches

Linda Arreola: Abstract Wanderings from the LA Borderlands 2020–2023 continues at Avenue 50 Studios (131 North Avenue 50, Highland Park, Los Angeles) by means of July 29. The exhibition was curated by Nicolas Orozco-Valdivia.