London’s Kensington Gardens are home to two exhibitions spaces on either side of the The Serpentine Lake. There’s the Serpentine Gallery and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. These galleries are among the most popular and most visited in the city, displaying modern and contemporary artworks. I was recently invited to preview the latest exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery by the very talented Tomma Abts. This German born artist now lives and works in London. She is the winner of the 2006 Turner Prize.
This is the first time a gallery in the UK has exhibited work by Tomma Abts. Exclusively included are some pieces that have never been seen before. She’s best known for her oil and acrylic paintings. Although modest in size they have the power to draw you in through optical and shadowing dimensions. Over her twenty years she has remained loyal to the 48cm by 38cm format, which I believe gives the collection a sense of form and regularity.
I found the varying muted shades very calming yet powerful. When she embarks on a new painting there is no preconceived plan of the outcome. Rather the brush strokes come together instinctively by Abts, as the painting unfolds before her. In fact she wonderfully creates depth and interest within each painting by using brush strokes over the top of each other. Her works have been described as cumulative. The final finished piece is a collection of those strokes. Whether she had decided to go in a different direction or shade, it’s not a mistake yet part of the finished piece. I feel that is a great representation of our own lives. After all we are the accumulation of what has gone before us. All of our achievements and our mistakes make up who we are.
Enjoy this contemporary and compelling exhibition at The Serpentine Sackler Gallery between 7th June through til 9th September 2018.