The Calligraphy of Absence

Work

Amalia Galdona Broche | Glorieta | 2023 | woven textile, resin, tube |103.5 x 118 x 41 inches

J. John Priola | Bouquet| 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 32.5 x 46 inches | wnlimited edition

Pilar Agüero-Esparza Pachuco: Purples & Blues | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 45 x 30 inches

 

Dina Abdulkarim | Cityville Madina | acrylic, collage, Damascene brocade, fabric, Damask wallpaper, gift-wrapping paperr on paper | 75 x 102 inches  (193.5 cm x 263.16 cm)

Amalia Galdona Broche | Glorieta | 2023 | woven textile, resin, tube |

30 x 24 inches  (77.4 cm x 61.92 cm)

Dina Abdulkarim | Cityville Madina | acrylic, collage, Damascene brocade, fabric, Damask wallpaper, gift-wrapping paperr on paper | 75 x 102 inches  (193.5 cm x 263.16 cm)

Amalia Galdona Broche | Glorieta | 2023 | woven textile, resin, tube |103.5 x 118 x 41 inches

Background: J. John Priola

 

J. John Priola | Bouquet| 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 32.5 x 46 inches | wnlimited edition

Pilar Agüero-Esparza Pachuco: Purples & Blues | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 30 x 24 inches  (77.4 cm x 61.92 cm)

Dina Abdulkarim | Eden of the Front Yard | acrylic, paper and fabric on paper | 100 x 112 inches  (258 cm x 288.96 cm)

Pilar Agüero-Esparza Pachuco: Purples & Blues | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 45 x 30 inches

Pilar Agüero-Esparza Pachuco: Purples & Blues | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 30 x 24 inches  (77.4 cm x 61.92 cm)

Dina Abdulkarim | Eden of the Front Yard | acrylic, paper and fabric on paper | 100 x 112 inches  (258 cm x 288.96 cm)

Pilar Agüero-Esparza Pachuco: Purples & Blues | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 45 x 30 inches

Left: J. John Priola | Bouquet| 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 32.5 x 46 inches | wnlimited edition

Pilar Agüero-Esparza | Curves: Pinks, Peaches, Purples | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 60 x 48 inches  (154.8 cm x 123.84 cm)

Dina Abdulkarim | Eden of the Front Yard | acrylic, paper and fabric on paper | 100 x 112 inches  (258 cm x 288.96 cm)

Dina Abdulkarim | Eden of the Front Yard | acrylic, paper and fabric on paper | 100 x 112 inches  (258 cm x 288.96 cm)

Calligraphy of Absence installation view: J. John Priola

J. John Priola | Teal Vase | 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 26 x 21 inches | Ed 2 of 5

J. John Priola | Coconut Vase | 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 26 x 21 inches | Ed 2 of 5

J. John Priola | Gold Base | 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 26 x 21 inches | Ed 2 of 5

J. John Priola | Gold Bowl | 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 26 x 21 inches | Ed 2 of 5

Pilar Agüero-Esparza | Curves: Pinks, Peaches, Purples | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 60 x 48 inches  (154.8 cm x 123.84 cm)

Background: Amalia Galdona Broche | Glorieta | 2023 | woven textile, resin, tube | 96 x various dimensions

Calligraphy of Absence installation view

Pilar Agüero-Esparza | Skin Hide Topographies: Greensk Purples Blues | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 60 x 72 inches  (154.8 cm x 185.76 cm)

Pilar Agüero-Esparza | Skin Hide Topographies: Greensk Purples Blues | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 60 x 72 inches  (154.8 cm x 185.76 cm)

Amalia Galdona Broche | Glorieta (detail) | 2023 | woven textile, resin, tube |103.5 x 118 x 41 inches

Pilar Agüero-Esparza | Plata Lace | 2023 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 30 x 24 inches  (77.4 cm x 61.92 cm)

Pilar Agüero-Esparza | Plata Lace | 2023 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 30 x 24 inches  (77.4 cm x 61.92 cm)

Calligraphy of Absence installation view

Pilar Agüero-Esparza | South Beach Rebozo | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 48 x 36 inches  (123.84 cm x 92.88 cm)

Pilar Agüero-Esparza | South Beach Rebozo | 2024 | Acrylic, stretched and woven leather, nails on wood panel | 48 x 36 inches  (123.84 cm x 92.88 cm)

Calligraphy of Absence installation view

Calligraphy of Absence installation view

Calligraphy of Absence installation view

J. John Priola | Pale Yellow Vase | 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 26 x 21 inches | Ed 2 of 5

J. John Priola | Pink Vase | 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 26 x 21 inches | Ed 2 of 5

J. John Priola | Black Bowl | 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 26 x 21 inches | Ed 2 of 5

J. John Priola | Modeled Vase | 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 26 x 21 inches | Ed 3 of 5

J. John Priola |Orange Vase | 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 26 x 21 inches | Ed 2 of 5

J. John Priola | Gold Vase | 2018 | Archival pigment print |  framed 26 x 21 inches | Ed 2 of 5

Press Release

 

The Calligraphy of Absence

Dina Abdulkarim
Pilar Agüero-Esparza
Amalia Galdona Broche
J. John Priola

 


Exhibition Dates: April 6 – May 18, 2024
Reception: Saturday, April 6th from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm
🕐 🗓️ Saturday, May 11th at 1:00 pm
In-Conversation: Please join us as we welcome author, and arts writer Shana Nys Dambrot, who will lead a conversation with Pilar Agűero-Esparza, Amalia Galdona Broche, J. John Priola, and Dina Abdulkarim. The event will be on Instagram Live. Limited seating will be available.

Shana Nys Dambrot is an art critic, curator, and author based in Downtown Los Angeles. A contributor to the Village Voice, Flaunt, Artillery, and other culture publications, she was the Arts Editor at LA Weekly until 2024. She studied Art History at Vassar College, writes book and catalog essays, curates and juries exhibitions, is a dedicated Instagram photographer, and is the author of the experimental novella Zen Psychosis (2020, Griffith Moon). She speaks at galleries, schools, and cultural institutions nationally, and is a recipient of the Rabkin Foundation Art Writing Prize (2022), the MOZAIK Future Art Writers Grant (2022 & 2024), and the LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Critic of the Year Award (2022).

The Calligraphy of Absence featuring Dina Abdulkarim from Los Angeles, Pilar Agüero-Esparza from San Jose, Amalia Galdona Broche from Rhode Island, and J. John Priola from the Bay Area is proudly presented by PATRICIA SWEETOW GALLERY. The four artists present stunning metaphoric memoirs that delve into their recollections of home, heritage, loss, and beauty.

“My practice investigates the notion of home and comparative identity, coalescing my Middle Eastern and North African heritage with my American home. I am an immigrant. My parents are, and so were theirs. I moved across 20 homes or so and have not been to my homeland yet – Palestine.”  –Abdulkarim

Dina Abdulkarim by day teaches urban planning, by night she enters her studio and plans her urban environments of complex thriving communities, as painted, cut and collaged constructions on paper. Having lived in many different places, Abdulkarim imagines bright bustling urban centers filled with flora and fauna, brimming with texture and mosaic patterns. Her large-scale abstract landscapes posit multi-layers of living with each other, in union with our environment – a maze of excitement, beauty, diversity, safety and community. Her ideas also stand in direct contrast to American communities centered on sprawl, creating separation, isolation and housing insecurity.

Abdulkarim is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Cal Poly Pomona. She received her Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts. She also has a PhD in City and Regional Planning from Ohio State University; a Master of Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati, and both a Bachelor and Master of Science in Architectural Engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology. Exhibitions include Tacoma Art Museum, CA; California Center for the Arts, Escondido, and Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles.

Known for her installations, paintings, and objects reflecting the palette and politics of skin tone, specifically Brown and Black skin, the gallery is excited to introduce the mixed-media paintings of Pilar Agüero-Esparza. The works on view are a hybrid of formal, hard-edged geometric abstraction, accentuated by her coded color palette, intersecting with her family’s tradition of huarache-making (woven leather Mexican sandals). Agüero-Esparza’s paintings assume the direct, flat linear approach of geometric abstraction, but with a palette describing hierarchies of color, mitigated by gridded intersecting leather strips. She extolls the craft and indigeneity of her family’s Mexican history, electrifying disparate and formidable concepts. In lesser hands, the collision of material, practice, heritage, and aesthetics might flatten, but instead the elegant grace of the woven and the symmetry of the hard-edged present a striking attunement—a singular approach to how Agüero-Esparza navigates the politics of color.

Pilar Agüero-Esparza received a BA in Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MFA in Spatial Art from San Jose State University. In 2025, she will receive the prestigious Eureka Fellowship Award from the Fleishhacker Foundation in San Francisco. Agüero-Esparza has exhibited her work in institutions including the San Jose Museum of Art, Triton Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, the De Young Museum, and the Montalvo Arts Center. In 2017, her work was featured in the exhibition “The U.S.-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility” at the Craft Contemporary Museum, Los Angeles, as part of the Getty Foundation Southern California initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art. In 2019, the U.S.-Mexico Border exhibition traveled to Lille, France, as part of the Eldorado Lille 3000 arts festival. In 2022, as an artist-in-residence and Lucas Artist Fellow, she was commissioned to create a large-scale outdoor work for the exhibition “Claiming Space: Refiguring the Body in Landscape” at the Montalvo Arts Center.

Amalia Galdona Broche’s considers the effects and duration of her immigration: “I was a child of the Cuban Revolution during the Special Period, a time of extreme economic adversity. Through sculpture and time-based media, I explore the fluid nature of identity, faith, memory of identity, transculturation and immigration.

This exhibition features a large-scale mixed media sculpture, Glorieta, a symbol of community identity from Galdona Broche’s childhood home in Cuba. The heavily embellished woven sculpture was recently exhibited at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, an affiliate of the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Galdona Broche is Assistant Professor of Art in the Textiles Department, Rhode Island School of Design. She received her MFA from the School of Art; Visual Studies, University of Kentucky in 2021. She was awarded the prestigious International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award for 2021. Residencies include MASS MoCA Studios/Assets in 2019 as well as the New York Academy of Art in 2015.

“I’m grasping tighter and tighter to metaphor, because all those things, all those pictures, whether they’re a tree in the world or a flower, they’re all real people. They all stand for something.”  –J. John Priola

Posies, an exquisite series of still-life floral portraits, is included in a monograph published by Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg in 2022 by the artist J. John Priola. The breadth of the monograph covers 20 years of Priola’s romance, photographing the natural world using only available natural light. Along with his focus on nature, Priola also included our manufactured facsimiles of nature, that which in perpetuity preserves the vibrancy of life, youth, and peak form, as represented by plastic turf, artificial flowers, and faux wood. This multivariant oeuvre comprises NATURAL LIGHT.

Raised on a farm with a mother avidly documenting her prized flora with polaroids, John appreciated the beauty of his surroundings but rebelled against the isolation of rural life. His work and life were ahead of him in an urban environment, a young person fully engaged with his artistic practice, identifying as LGBTQAI+. It wasn’t until later years when he recognized how his youth formed his vision that the more subtle, nuanced understanding of his work depicting nature aligned and married with his queer, urban identity. The distillation of his complex ideas offers an elegy to place, love, and loss.

Priola’s work is included in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, Oakland Museum of Art, plus more. He taught at the San Francisco Art Institute for 25 years and held positions of Chair of the Photography Department and Director of the Low-Residency MFA Studio Art Program. His work has been exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, Museo de Arte Moderno, Medellin, Columbia, Fraenkel Gallery, and Galerie Paule Anglim.