Tomma Abts

Texts by James Rondeau, Kate Nesin, and Juliane Rebentisch.

This publication examines both the art-historical framework of Tomma Abts’s painting as well as its deep philosophical and psychological dimensions.  

With a rigorous approach and self-imposed limitations to both scale and composition, Tomma Abts (b. 1967) has reinvigorated painterly abstraction and its relevance within contemporary art. Using a fixed canvas size and a vertical format, Abts deploys basic formal elements such as arcs, circles, planes, and stripes to create powerful works that are at once subtle and eccentric. This extraordinary book, designed in collaboration with the artist herself, is a substantial and deeply insightful treatment of her career to date and features sixty works made over the past decade. Essays not only contextualize Abts’s work within an art-historical framework of methods, process, and style, but also examine her paintings’ philosophical and psychological dimensions and their embodiment of a creative process that transcends the specifics of any particular work.


Publisher: Yale University Press

Artists: Tomma Abts

Contributors: James Rondeau, Kate Nesin, Juliane Rebentisch

Designer: Mevin & van Deursen, Amsterdam

Printer: Conti Tipocolor, Italy

Publication Date: 2018

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 9 3/4 x 13 3/4

Pages: 176

Reproductions: 74 color

ISBN: 9780300233872

Retail: $40 | £30

Status: Not Available

Tomma Abts

Tomma Abts makes complex paintings and works on paper whose subject is ultimately the process of their creation. She begins each work with no preconceived composition and idea, and without preliminary sketches. Guided largely by intuition, she nevertheless works within precise parameters. The paintings’ evolution is evidenced by ridges and uneven texture—the result of methodical overpainting and reworking of the image. While abstract, the works are still illusionistic, rendered with sharp attention to shadows, three-dimensional effects, and highlights that defy any single, realistic light source. The resulting canvases convey balance and movement, while maintaining a sense of uncertainty, which seems akin to memory.

All Tomma Abts books