Tomma Abts

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Tomma Abts
1967 born in Kiel, Germany
Lives in London, United Kingdom

Tom­ma Abts ranks among the out­stan­ding fe­ma­le pain­ters of her ge­ne­ra­ti­on. She was awar­ded the Tur­ner Pri­ze in 2006, and her work has fea­tured in so­lo ex­hi­bi­ti­ons at such re­now­ned in­sti­tu­ti­ons as Kunst­hal­le Ba­sel, the Ham­mer Mu­se­um in Los An­ge­les and the New Mu­se­um of Con­tem­pora­ry Art in New York. The show at the Kunst­hal­le Düs­sel­dorf will be the Lon­don-ba­sed ar­tist’s first so­lo ex­hi­bi­ti­on at an in­sti­tu­ti­on in the Rhi­ne­land, whe­re she has be­en teaching sin­ce sum­mer 2010, ha­ving ta­ken up a pro­fes­sorship at the Kunst­aka­de­mie Düs­sel­dorf.

A slow and ri­go­rous pro­duc­tion pro­cess is a dis­tin­gu­is­hing fea­ture of Tom­ma Abts’ work. Alt­hough she fol­lows a pre­de­ter­mined me­thod in her pain­ting, ap­p­ly­ing pu­re­ly geo­me­tri­cal shapes to a clas­sic 48 x 38 cm por­trait for­mat in lay­er af­ter lay­er of oil and acryl­ic paint, her pain­ting is far re­mo­ved from se­ri­al pro­duc­tion. The in­di­vi­dua­li­ty of each of her pie­ces can, in­s­tead, be at­tri­bu­ted to a pro­duc­tion pro­cess whe­re each image is shaped by con­ti­nual ques­tio­ning, and by con­stant con­struc­tion and de­con­struc­tion. The rich, of­ten mu­ted co­lour to­nes lend each work its own mood, which draws the be­hol­der in­to a world of in­ti­ma­te ima­ge­ry. On­ly on clo­ser in­spec­tion do the un­der­ly­ing lay­ers peek through the sur­face he­re and the­re, re­vea­ling faint pat­terns and iso­la­ted li­nes, and cas­ting Abts’ work as a re­flec­tion on the pain­ting pro­cess its­elf.

Text: Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

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