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Tomma Abts

Born 1967, Kiel, Germany.  
Lives and works in London, United Kingdom.

«For the past decade, Tomma Abts has been doing something that puts her in very rare company: painting modestly scaled, non-illustrational, abstract compositions. They are likewise notable for their interlocking linear elements, staccato repetitions and densely layered fields built up by a succession of thin strate and bisected by delicate webs of faintly protruding seams, as in Weet (2006). Luminous palettes are also a mainstay, even in works including the almost ineffably husted Ewo (2006). Employing a standard size (48 x 38 cm) and working with a consistent process of oil and acrylics. Abts nonetheless - or perhaps precisely because of her process - succeeds in producing works of great internal complexity. She approaches each canvas without an a priori image or shape, eschewing sketches, research, and source material to instead work the material until a form emerges. Its appearance might be vaguely reminiscent of ornaments, tissues or even biomorphic structures, a fact seemingly corroborated by Abts' titles, plucked from dictionaries of names, except that the designations are as arbitrary and severed from referentiality as the paintings themselves. Illusions of shadows in Eppe (2006) and others suggest comparison with op art, while the same work's object-ness might also allow for a precedent such as Russian constructivism. Despite historical echoes, Abts' work exists in the time and process of its making. Hers is a distinctive approach to abstract painting that, presented in two solo exhibitions in Basel and London, led the jury to award the Turner Prize 2006 to Abts.» Suzanne Hudson