Tomma Abts at The Serpentine Sackler Gallery

Best known for her abstract oil paintings, German-born artist, Tomma Abts presents a new exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which is her largest show to date and consists of painting and casts produced over the last ten years. The works on display show how Abts is able to find endless possibilities and experiments within her art even though it is typically confined to a 48cm x 38cm format.

The titles of Abts’ paintings are all derived from a German dictionary of first names, and her canvases are all 48cm x 38cm. Abts has said that this size and style is work best for her. Her works take on rich and somewhat neutral colour schemes. The colours are not overtly vibrant and work subtly in harmony together within each work. A stunning detail that viewers will notice on close inspection is that Abts created a three-dimensional effect by continually and meticulously layering each painting. She uses thick layers of paint, which almost appear as though they are covering up something underneath the finished product, giving viewers the impression that the paintings were created through trial and error – there is a sense that works of art were created along the process, now hidden beneath the surface layers as if Abts is keeping small secrets between herself and the paintings as they are put on display for hundreds of people to marvel at every day.

Her paintings have a slightly old-fashioned air about them, as though they're from an entirely different era, giving the exhibition a beautiful retro feel. The paintings are simple and pure, with a direct line to abstraction. Some of the paintings have been split in half or had their edges curved. Abts’ work is simply breathtaking, with the clean lines and confidently applied paint. Some of the paintings that include optical illusions are playfully hypnotic and have fun with the eyes that gaze upon them.

This entire exhibition is an absolute wonder; it is fresh and organic with a touch of nostalgia and vintage abstract charm. Visitors will enjoy the visual simplicity that this exhibition offers. None of Abts’ paintings are representational; there are no references to nature, the political world, or any other theme and thus there are no hidden meanings to contemplate. It is simply just an exquisite collection of colours and shapes beautifully executed and inviting to all.

Tomma Abts’ exhibition is on at The Serpentine Sackler Gallery until 9th September. More information may be found here.