David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Tomma Abts, the gallery's first show with the artist since 2008. On view at 519 West 19th Street in New York, it will coincide with Tomma Abts: Mainly Drawings, the inaugural exhibition at the new Aspen Art Museum in Colorado, designed by architect Shigeru Ban (through October 26).
One of today's most significant abstract painters, Abts has continuously explored the activity of painting. Starting each of her works without a preconceived idea, knowing only the size of the canvas and her materials, she gradually arrives at the composition over varying periods of time. Guided by intuition, the paintings' evolution is evidenced by ridges and uneven texture, with earlier layers subtly visible beneath the final coating. While abstract, the works are still illusionistic, and shadows, gradations of color, a sense of movement, variations between light- and darkness, and three-dimensional, trompe l'oeil-like effects seem to evoke objects and landscapes. The portrait format of the compositions and their intimate scale enhance the sense of individuality and invite "face-to-face" encounters with the viewer, thus underscoring the mental process involved in their execution. Like remnants of thoughts, the physical objects take time to fully observe and always retain open-ended meanings.
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German artist Tomma Abts (born 1967) creates her paintings and drawings using a rigorous process that combines the rational with the intuitive. Starting with no external source material and no preconceived idea of the final result, Abts makes complex abstract compositions that ultimately take as their subject the process of their own creation. This publication accompanies her exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum, which is the first to survey the artist's extensive drawing practice. It features 41 works from 1996 to the present—many never before exhibited—and includes new works created specifically for the exhibition. The catalogue also features essays by Bob Nickas, Katy Siegel and Heidi Zuckerman.