New York

Matthew Abbott

Fawbush Gallery

It’s like when you’re drunk at a party and the person you came with seems to have wandered off, and someone’s talking to you, someone you don’t recognize, but the music is really loud, and lights from an unidentifiable source keep flashing, so even though you’re trying really hard to hear what this guy is saying, nothing quite adds up, though it keeps sounding like it should.

This kind of woozy confusion emanates from Matthew Abbott’s paintings. He combines complex abstract patterns—often with strong color contrasts or “tacky” metallic tones, sometimes over more or less irrelevant swirling textures for good measure—with slightly nonsensical phrases, variously lettered. Sometimes the texts are lettered “straight,” sometimes they go in circles, in some paintings they appear as if projected onto a globed surface. At times their colors stand out in contrast to the patterns, but then again they

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