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© the artist. Photo credit: Tate

Noeme 2004

Tomma Abts (b.1967)


German painter, born in Kiel. She moved to London in 1995 and has established a considerable reputation with a distinctive form of abstract painting. She uses a consistent format, always working on vertical canvases of 48 × 38 cm. The scale and vertical alignment tend to confront the spectator in the manner of a portrait. The titles of the paintings are all taken from a dictionary of regional German names, so enhancing the sense of a human presence. As the critic Jan Verwoert points out, unlike the travels into outer space and the future offered by early abstract painters such as El *Lissitzky, Abts' work takes abstraction ‘down from heaven’. Although her paintings appear precise in their execution, they are the result, not of exact preplanning, but of a gradual process of adaptation and accretion.

Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)

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