Agence Germain Pire




Vernissage de John Phillip Abbott "The Zen Paintings"

09/02 to 24/03/2019

OPENING Saturday February 9, 5 - 7pm
RELEASE Exclusive, unique, marvelous Zen Zen T-Shirt paintings in collaboration with Les Villains Parisiens
TALK + Goûter Sunday February 10, 17h30 by invitation
In presence of the artist

Gleichapel will feature an installation of floating paintings by New Mexico based painter, John Phillip Abbott. Three painted raw canvases each measuring 182 x 152 cm with variations of the word Zen are set inside what is reputably the smallest exhibition platform in Paris, viewed only from the sidewalk.

Throughout his decade long career, John Phillip Abbott is fundamentally a process based painter, with strong interest in the formal and pictorial properties that make up words such as zen. Other words and phrases such as Fortuna, Oasis, Utopia, Pontiac, Sunday, New Day, I Shall Be Free, and many more have catalysed an oeuvre to inspire synaesthetic associations with colour, geometries and meaning, leading to a stage of metaphysics. For Abbott, The ZenPaintings were never meant as a Buddhist principle per se, nor as a meditational device. Yet, an emphasis on the meaning, according to Abbott, "feels right now, as a response to everything happening globally, socially/politically: climate change, overpopulation." The word Zen relates furthermore to personal stories of affinities to Pirsig's cult book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" as well as the Beat writers' close associations to an American adaptation of Zen, attending to the ever-present unlimited state of consciousness. Abbott has created over 24 varying paintings with the Zen motif since 2015.

Like text messages in a painterly form, the selected words are biographical for Abbott and they pop into paintings based on past memories. Yet, coming back to process, one Albuquerquean curator recently commented to Abbott in an interview: "people tend to think that artists are generally in control of the creation process, yet with your approach, you appear to embrace the unexpected/accidental/spontaneous and let the media and process do its part. This suggests that your process is more of an active collaboration between you and the materials; in many ways it's got a call and response vibe going on." (1) Zen and the process orientation of other words from Abbott's works earlier in the decade became a motif of shape and space, and ever more so when doubling up the word. Architectonically painted and using imperfect tape as a gestural touch to the vertical rectangle of unprimed, unstretched canvas, the artist comments "making paintings by hand still embodies a humanity that seems important to our society today." The division of space into zones of flat, open, yet compartmentalised areas merged with spray paint spread onto the surface like an act of infinite consciousness. Are these works 'minimalist graffiti' with a message of peace and harmony ? Are they nods to the Support Surface movement from the 60, 70s ? The Zen Paintings in the least calls the visitor to take that pause, and be calm for 6 seconds at a time.

Wausau, Wisconsin born John Phillip Abbott (1975) has exhibited internationally and most recently at COUNTY Gallery, Palm Beach, FL; Galerie Bertrand in Geneva, Switzerland; Pierogi, New York and included in exhibitions at the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, CT, and 516 Arts Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He currently lives and works in Silver City, New Mexico after residing in Houston, Texas, years after achieving his studies at the Santa Reparata School of Art in Florence, Italy and receiving an MFA from the University of Wisconsin in 2007. His works have been reviewed in numerous publications including The New York Times and New American Paintings. This is the second time the artist is exhibiting in Paris.

(1) 516 Arts, interview with John Phillip Abbott, January 3, 2013

Vernissage de John Phillip Abbott "The Zen Paintings"
Location: Gleichapel
15, rue Debelleyme
75003 Paris
M° Saint-Sébastien - Froissart, Filles du Calvaire
Mobile : +33 (0)6 25 39 01 03
Mail :
Internet Site :
Date: Saturday, February 9, 2019
Time: 17:00-19:00 CET

id : 100197