[By Appointment Only + Virtual Reception] Connected Abstractly

170 S. La Brea Ave., Upstairs Los Angeles, CA 90036
Jul 18, 2 PM - 6 PM — ends Aug 15, 2020
By Appointment Saturday 2 -6pm.
Facebook live event Saturday: 4:30 - 5:00
www.facebook.com/LaunchLA

Taking appointments on Thursday, Friday and Saturday through August 15th from 2 - 6pm.

To schedule an appointment, email:
stephen@launchla.org

Launch LA is proud to present Abstract Connections, an exhibition featuring new work by Annie Compean, Duane Paul and Nano Rubio. Through the thematic contrast of man-made versus organic, each artist explores recognizable forms in new and interesting ways to challenge our understanding of signs, object-associative meanings and culturally derived connections.

Annie Compean references the traditional painting genre of still life to create dream-like narratives that explore the lives of inanimate objects. Compean collects discarded materials to manipulate and arrange into a model for her paintings. The preliminary work of collecting, building, manipulating, and arranging is a substantial part of her painting process. With dramatic lighting, and architectural props, the still life becomes a stage set where objects become actors, and Compean then paints from direct observation. Typically composed of crudely-made “sculptures” and everyday objects, these nameless objects allude to the body or an organism. Campean plays with this readability of limbs, craniums, appendages, and orifices through her staged constructs of non-art materials such as plastic table cloths, inflatable toys, and packing foam. By constructing a tableau of artificial beings that have apparent skin, and at times ornaments and accessories, Compean expresses their distinct personalities and relationships. Once the viewer enters the canvas, their own perceptions of ‘object’ challenge the viewer’s perception of inanimate objects and organic forms. This meaningful interpretation of perceptual awareness is fundamental to our ability to interpret and act in the world.


Duane Paul’s multimedia sculptures concentrate on the fractured, fragmented memories of childhood, strung together and conflated by his adult reflection on past memories and experiences as an Afro-Caribbean immigrant, Gay man living within the Black American experience. Through a layering of materials, the nature of Paul’s process and the sculptures represent a conduit to the Black body and the Black experience, to explore ideas within the social zeitgeist of the historical and current. Combining traditional sculptural materials with repurposed utilitarian industrial media, Paul builds up the metaphoric surfaces of memories and experiences. The process then is to tear through, and expose those layers to get the desired effect of damage/decay. The intent of the surface treatment is to evoke the wear and tear of living. Numerous inspirations inform Paul’s work including the Japanese art of floral arrangement Ikebana, thematic elements of nature and the urban landscape, and sculpted biomorphic forms that link the human body (the organic) to the Man-made (geometric architecture) and the natural environment (foliage). The "Abstract Arrangements" ruminate on these ideas; their structure and composition take on the urban Los Angeles Landscape with its combination of hard edges of shooting up concrete buildings juxtaposed with the soft edges of organic, biomorphic structures. These works are a conversation on constructed partnered urban living.

Nano Rubio’s creative process combines tight and meticulous line drawing with action painting’s explosive energy, defacing his carefully laid backgrounds with bursts of color and smears of paint. Rubio explores the interplay between figural elements and environment, where each canvas can be read as abstract allegories about the fate of human touch within the technological environment. The contrast of foreground and surrounding elements struggle to be integrated in each painting. The current work achieves an all-over-ness giving the viewer few points of visual rest but also mirroring our current state of abundant information and hinting at the idea of truth and illusion. Painting flesh, skin and blood-reds, contrasted with fluorescent, neon colors all imply a disconnect with the human form in the digital age as well as highlighting the precarious position of the subject in the era of hyperbolic capitalism. In this new body of work the neon and black color choices in my most recent body of work, the neon and black color choices give us the troubled status of the figure in the early twenty-first century as more humans are displaced by automation, environmental, and political concerns.