Is perfection making a comeback? In exhibitions at David Zwirner and James Cohan, Tomma Abts (b. Germany 1967) and Helene Appel (b. Germany 1976) certainly make a case that focus and exactitude are still meaningful approaches.
A notoriously slow painter, Abts is having her first show at Zwirner since 2008. She continues to make the small-scale abstractions with layered geometric shapes for which she is best known, but has begun to introduce ruptures, such as a diptych format and a cut corner, into the picture plane. Her work requires careful scrutiny to apprehend the process, which begins with thin layers of scruffy acrylic washes. She draws out the shapes with pencil and begins to build with color, eventually shifting to opaque layers of oil paint employing trompe l�oeil trickery and overlays. Titled with unusual female German names, the work seems distinctly veiled and private: Abts’s world is narrow-focused and intensely personal.
“Tomma Abts,” David Zwirner, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through October 25, 2014.
“Helene Appel,” James Cohan, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through October 4, 2014.
Abts’ traction (2008)
Sylvia Plimack Mangold: “I�m not an original thinker, but I think I�m an original painter.”Catherine Murphy questions our relationship to the commonplace
PRINTMAKING: Sylvan Lionni at Kansas
Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.