Kelly Reaves reviews works by Scott Wolniak and John Phillip Abbott at Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago, on view through February 13, 2016.
Reaves writes: "With nods to studio noodling, [Abbott's paintings] seduce with flashy neon hues and sexy pools and swirls of paint. They start on unstretched canvas first used for sopping up spills and clearing out spray guns. Once “found,” they are stretched and completed with strategically placed, blocky words, implying context but mostly functioning to stabilize the space. Also on view are Wolniak’s “tablets”—flat surfaces covered in plaster and painted with water-based pigments in palettes reminiscent of Hawaiian shirts, then carved into with elaborate linear patterns made up of circles, dots, scratches and swooshes. They are peppy but anxious, undulating with the manic energy of thousands of repetitive marks covering every square centimeter of their surfaces."