Tomma Abts (German, b 1967) produces her paintings following a strict, self-imposed procedure. For almost twenty years, she has used vertical canvases measuring precisely 48 by 38 centimeters (19 by 15 inches) for her paintings. Rather than begin with a preconceived structure in mind, she allows her abstract compositions to take shape as she works, sometimes over the course of several years. She paints with the support cradled in her arm, not on an easel. As seen here, the surfaces of Abts’ canvases are composed of many layers of paint, with the ghosts of past compositions just barely visible underneath subsequent coats of acrylic and oil. This work’s title, Kobo (1999) is pulled, like all of her titles, from an encyclopedia of German surnames.
Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.