Born 1967, Kiel, Germany
Lives and works in London, England
In an era when artists regularly borrow from the scale and the intent of cinema
and outdoor advertising, Tomma Abts' decision to make small paintings seems against
the grain and entirely personal. These tightly painted systems of interlocking parts
that are not quite biomorphic nor geometric can suggest the surfaces of distant planets
as quickly as they assert their complete non-objectivity. Abts approaches each canvas
without preconception, building up layers of paint until a form crystallizes. She
describes her finely calibrated compositions as "having to do with holding and unfolding
the space in the way that every part of the picture plane is active." Abts is equally
concerned with the mystery and elegance of the abstract imagery that takes shape on the
canvas and the variegated nature of the painted surface. She achieves a range of painterly
effects from transparent veils of color to thickly painted passages through meticulous
masking, painting, and over-painting. The enigmatic names she gives her work seem the
result of an invented language—suggesting constellations, mythology, geography, or
something else entirely.
Burnett, Craig. "Tomma Abts." Untitled 28 (Summer 2002): 60.
McFarland, Dale. "Wallflower." Frieze 51 (March–April 2000): 92–93.
Myers, Terry. "Tomma Abts."In Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting. Ed. Valérie Breuvart. London: Phaidon Press, 2002.
Siegal, Katy. "Tomma Abts." Artforum 42, no. 5 (January 2004): 135.
Slyce, John. "Interview with Tomma Abts." Flash Art, no. 26 (October 2002): 68–69.
Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch