Rooted in the particularities of site and context, Abdalian’s work typically responds to the specific attributes of a given location, architectural setting, or social landscape. Within the context of Clifton Benevento, and with a characteristic economy of means, Abdalian presents A Betrayal, a suite of sculptures that are responsive to the gallery as a site of transition.
Abdalian’s sculptures reflect their transitory condition—as change between states, as expressly incomplete, as equivocating in their mode of address. At intervals, a percussive impulse punctuates the soundscape of the gallery, evidencing a momentary switch in the locking apparatus that comprises Openings. The viewer encounters in One into two the bifurcated figure of Janus, the Roman god of passages, altered so as to nominate an orientation at odds with the original emblem; here, opposition and conflict invert the former relation of symmetry and harmony. Consisting of little more than the commonplace objects from which they are derived, these sculptures are decisively determined by the elementary operations that register them as changed. From what is called Mono County relies on only the slightest of estranging effects: a rectangular ‘face’ is cut into one side of a boulder of volcanic rock; the rectilinear surface, seemingly awaiting an identifying mark or inscription, only has violent prehistory to tell. A common tarp hung taut at an improbable angle, Some Dupont blue repeats the form of the blank plaque, cutting into the space of the gallery as an abstract plane.
Engaging the viewer’s experience of material boundaries in space, Abdalian’s installations activate thresholds or features that mark the transition between spaces. One of a series of works she has made for windows, Interregnum consists of a scrim that depicts a facsimile of the window it covers (its façade), now doubled. Close of winter further situates her sculptures within her installation practice: a security door is transfigured through a series of cuts and subtractions yielding a group of objects that no longer function to bar passage but rather complicate the viewer’s movement through space.