Born in Brooklyn, Abeles was moved to Myrtle Beach at the age of two and a half. There he established his formative ties with South Carolina when he was first exposed to art at Brookgreen Gardens. During his high school years he apprenticed with Gerald Tempesta, an artist who had moved to the coast in 1950. Abeles' further development came with his enrollment at USC in Columbia, receiving a BA degree in 1955. Edmund Yaghjian and Catherine Rembert were among his mentors at the university. In the 1960's he taught at the Columbia Museum, and there he found his love for print making.
Later Abeles pursued further training at the Art Students' League, the Pratt Institute, the Showhegan School of Painting and the Brooklyn Museum School. He also received a Masters Degree of Fine Arts from Columbia University.
Currently retired from teaching at the University of New Hampshire, Abeles now maintains a studio in Manhattan and upper state New York. A member of the National Academy of Design, Abeles has received numerous awards. His work is included in such collections as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the British Museum, the Cleveland Museum, the Fogg Museum of Harvard University, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum of art, the Gibbs Museum, and the Columbia Museum, among others.