In December 2006 German born artist Tomma Abts went down in history as the first female artist to win the coveted Turner Prize. Tomma Abts accomplished this noteworthy historical victory by beating off three other – worthy finalists.
In no particular order of importance these were – sculptress Rebecca Warren who was the fancied hot favourite with many bookies, “billboard artist” Mark Titchner – and finally film maker Phil Collins…(No not him of Genesis fame!).
In the end good fortune – and the judges smiled on Tomma Abts. Tomma won 25,000 – surely a welcome addition to her bank account – and the prize itself. However the exposure Tomma Abts will receive from winning is worth much more than the cash – or so it’s often said. I tend to agree.
Well OK – which medium doesTomma Abts work with? Well – she’s a painter working in the main with acrylics – creating abstract art. This would tend to go against the form of previous Turner Prize winners who have tended not to be painters. However it was precisely the painting of Tomma Abts that gained her original selection. Tomma held exhibitions in Switzerland – Kunsthalle Basel and the UK – London’s “Greengrassi”
The Tate Gallery has lauded her “rigorous and consistent approach to painting” .Furthermore this prestigous gallery comments on the “intimate and compelling canvases” of Tomma Abts and how she “enriches the language of abstract art”….I think they like her – a lot!
With such fullsome praise for Tomma around – it isn’t difficult to see why she won the 2006 Turner Prize. As for my thoughts?…well – I think Tomma Abts is “OK” without being “KO”.
The images or paintings of Tomma Abts are created by the repetiton of various geometrical shapes on a base of rich colour. Personally – I don’t think that Tomma’s approach to painting is particularly original. However I have to admit that while not being “knock out” I find some of Tomma’s images pretty compelling and touching. I have to say that this does surprise me.
48 x 38 cms – exactly. These are the dimensions of every Tomma Abts painting. I’m not sure quite why Tomma selected these dimensions. Obviously she finds them appealing and I suppose they make for a very compact painting.
When creating titles for her paintings apparently Tomma simply plucks one from a dictionary of German first names! Titles like “Veeke” for example were created in this way. In my view this is surely only slightly more interesting than numbering each picture!
All in all I think that Tomma Abts creates abstract art that is pretty accessible to the public at large. This is something that perhaps could not be said about the artwork of previous Turner Prize winners! I base my opinion of course on Tomma’s prize winning paintings. I would go further and state that I cannot conceive of a Tomma Abts creation offending anyone – even slightly.
In the end it’s just my personal opinion but I do believe that it’s entirely posible that Tomma Abts will go on to become a household name – within her own lifetime…Of course she could also disappear without trace from the media – and our minds in the blink of an eye, for precisely the same reasons.