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Abstract ‘Natural Selections’ on display at Brand Library

The artwork of five female artists who each ground their figurative art in some aspect of organic reality will be on display through July 1 at the Brand Library and Art Center.

Titled “Natural Selections,” the exhibit features artists Amabelle Aguiluz, Sarajo Frieden, Wakana Kimura, Karin Lanzoni, and Hiroko Yoshimoto, who are either based in Los Angeles or have had previous exhibits in the city. Each of them engages in nature through complex, abstract work, using a variety of mediums.

For example, Aguiluz uses discarded fabrics to connect with history and nature, and Yoshimoto’s canvases of color evoke organic shapes that might be found in a wild rose garden or under a Petri dish.

“Natural Selections was this idea where the work is abstract yet there is all this technical skill and incredible ability to produce realistic-looking work,” said Shannon Currie Holmes, exhibition supervisor. “Yet, they are making this formal decision to create abstract work.”


Like previous installations, Holmes tries to find a through-line between each artist despite the contrasting styles and techniques. This exhibition displays works “inspired by nature with vivid compositions of organic complexity,” and because of each artist’s technical training, intuitive and familiar forms emerge, Holmes said.

Yoshimoto is showing 12 pieces from her series titled “Biodiversity,” which she said is an examination of how biology influences human society, and a diversity of species is crucial to sustainability and the continuation of life.

“That is a general theme, but these are all abstract paintings, and I don’t depict any specific object or life form but many people see [an object] in the painting and that’s just fine with me,” Yoshimoto said.

Before placing oil on canvas, Yoshimoto said she envisions microscopic organisms as the basis for shapes and colors before she starts sketching out her work using watercolors.


Lanzoni, who is also director of the Fine Arts Gallery at Cal State Los Angeles, will have a series of paintings no bigger than 8 inches in diameter that are nontraditional for abstract art in that their construction did not depend on the grand bodily gestures normally associated with the works of Jackson Pollack.

“The large gestures tied to abstract art are partly about grandiosity, and I’m thinking, what about looking at small gestures?” she said, adding that she decided to focus on the gestures she uses when using her phone in some pieces.

Lanzoni finds significance in the everyday “micro” gestures associated with technology to make the numerous oil markings on the wood panels. She said their size asks the viewer to engage with the work both up close and from a distance.

Aguiluz, who uses textiles and wearable art for her installation, will be part of a May 26 dance event with the Szalt Dance Co. as part of the Brand Library and Art Center’s annual dance series. The event is free and will be presented from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Brand Library and Art Center is located at 1601 W. Mountain St.

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Twitter: @JeffLanda