Gregory Abbott (1945 - )

Gregory Abbott was born in 1945, and grew up in Bakersfield, California. Abbott says he can't recall a time when he didn't want to paint; he thinks his desire was inborn. He still remembers a preschool teacher taking him to task for not using the "right" colors for a drawing; even as a young child he was offended that someone would try to control his art work. His early perception of himself as an artist spawned the painting of murals on walls at home, and at twelve, the painting of a huge, reclining nude on his uncle's water tower in Parowan, Utah.

Abbott's parents were supportive of his interests (unlike his uncle, who, shocked by the nude on the water tower, made him repaint the tower with solid gray primer, as the uncle had originally intended). In addition to encouraging his painting at home, his parents took him on frequent visits to Los Angeles, to various museums and galleries. Abbott particularly remembers the opening exhibit of the Surrealists Dali, Miro, De Chirico, Ernst, and Duchamp at the new Los Angeles County Museum. From that day on, Abbott's art leaned towards Surrealism.

After graduating from high school, Abbott attended Brigham Young University and then transferred to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California, where he received both his Bachelor and Master of Fine Art degrees.

Since graduating, Abbott has worked as an artist and interior designer, painting on material, on walls (now no one asks him to paint over his murals), and on ceilings, as well as creating numerous acrylic paintings.

Gregory Abbott has paintings in private and public collections such as the Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento, California; The Springville Museum of Art in Springville, Utah; The Salt Lake Art Center Collection, Salt Lake City, Utah; The State of Utah Permanent Collection, Salt Lake City, Utah; Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; and the Minnesota Museum of Art in St. Paul. Abbott has had shows at numerous galleries throughout Utah as well as at galleries in San Francisco, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York.

Abbott says that he is most interested in paradox--where something seems to be one thing but can also mean something else. His surrealist paintings take ordinary objects and pose them in new ways to have us question our automatic linkages between images and words. Abbott takes ordinary images like cows--his "everyman"- and establishes relationships that create new ways of seeing those objects, giving them new meanings and increasing our understanding of ourselves and others.

His cow paintings, like Cows of Art History: at the end of innocence, express his feelings about life. He believes ordinary people, obscured by the group, have extraordinary events happen to them that spark heroic acts, greatness, or marvelous insight that set them apart from the group. Abbott also takes a humorous view of life, including in his art word plays and fanciful juxtapositions of ideas and motifs, as in his self-portrait, Cowboy. This portrait shows the artist in three-quarter length, stripped to the waist, appearing to have an interlocking design of cows tattooed on his torso.

He says his future paintings will probably still be pictorial explorations of the universal truths that exist within paradoxical circumstances. Recently, he took a boat ride at Niagara Falls and was fascinated by the silence and quietude he experienced because of the deafening roar of the falls. So, you can probably watch for new Gregory Abbott paintings with images based on his experience at Niagara Falls.

Courtesy of Springville Museum of Art


Gregory Abbott