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Abstract oil and acrylic paintings rendered in muted colors and an unvarying format – this is the signature style of Tomma Abts. Working with meticulous care, the London-based German artist builds up layers of paint over time. In effect, she produces geometric compositions that hinge on the semblance of depth to explore such genuinely painterly problems as the tension between illusion and physical materiality; between an objecthood that asserts its presence in the viewer’s space and a compositional structure contained by its pictorial plane; or indeed the very resolution of hues and tones in use.
For Abts’s edition for Texte zur Kunst, she has limited herself to the elements of value and line. The piece, derived from one of the delicate colored pencil drawings she creates alongside her paintings, strips the original image of nuance and color, by way of the black-and-white photocopy. Via this method, fine straight lines dissolve into the thin paper, their information trailing off into mere fragments: A concert of vaguely textural superimpositions and shaded areas whose vestigial illusionism promises pictorial depth only to leave the eye stranded amid the white of the page. Rarely does Abts utilize this medium, and yet, for this edition she carefully achieves the collision of perceptual effects that is fully characteristic of her compositions.