C O U N T Y Gallery is pleased to present Desert Flower, a solo exhibition of recent paintings by John Phillip Abbott.
John Phillip Abbott is an important emerging artist whose vibrant, pulsating, text-based paintings operate in the conceptual space between legibility and abstraction. Abbott’s large, geometric letters, which reference the Minimalist grid, are sometimes interrupted and partly camouflaged by layers of stripe patterns and expressive plumes of airbrushed paint. The words become stand-ins for the objects or places they describe, and the colors and patterns add layers of synaesthetic associations.
Much of Abbott’s work has a personal, diaristic quality, and the Desert Flower paintings are inspired, in part, by the desert town of Silver City, New Mexico, where Abbott lives and works. The painting Wild Horse, for instance, refers to a particular vista in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness, but it also carries associations, for Abbott, of the ultrarunner known as Caballo Blanco (“White Horse”) who died in the Gila Wilderness, as well as the horse paintings of fellow New Mexican artist Susan Rothenberg. Very Large Array refers simultaneously to the array of mark-making techniques Abbott uses to create his composition, the large array of stars visible in the New Mexican desert, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s three acres of high-tech radio telescopes (known as the Very Large Array) built in New Mexico to observe the stars. Despite such geographically specific references, Abbott leaves the ultimate meanings of his paintings intentionally open-ended, encouraging viewers to connect with his words, colors, and compositions in light of their own personal histories and experiences.
John Phillip Abbott has had solo exhibitions in Geneva, New York, and Chicago. His work has been featured in The New York Times, New American Paintings, and other prominent publications. Desert Flower is Abbott’s first solo exhibition at C O U N T Y.