Painter Claims Turner Prize

The Birmingham Post (England), December 5, 2006 | Go to article overview

Painter Claims Turner Prize


Byline: By Sherna Noah

A painter last night won the Turner Prize for only the fourth time in its 22-year history.

Tomma Abts is also the first female painter to take the pounds 25,000 contemporary art award since its inception in 1984.

Her win marks a departure from the more outlandish works to have scooped the prize in recent years.

Abts, who lives in London, creates small oils and acrylics which are always in the same 48 by 38cm format.

The abstract painter, who was born in Kiel, Germany, was presented with the prize by Yoko Ono at a ceremony at Tate Britain in central London.

Abts is the first painter to get the award, famous for the wacky work of some of its recipients, in eight years.

Chris Ofili, who features elephant dung on his canvas, was the last painter to win in 1988.

The only other winning painters have been Malcolm Morley for the inaugural award and Howard Hodgkin the following year.

Other winners, Damien Hirst (1995) and Keith Tyson (2002), use paint as one of several mediums.

In recent years, painters have lost out to installation artists, sculptors, and film-makers.

Last year's recipient, Simon Starling, dismantled a shed, turned it into a boat, then turned it back into a shed again. Another installation artist, Martin Creed, won in 2001 for a work which featured a light going on and off.

According to the judges, Abts uses no source material and begins with no preconceived notion of the end result.

Instead, her paintings of muted palettes take shape through a gradual process of layering one colour over another. The artist says of her work: "The forms don't stand for anything else, they don't symbolise anything or describe anything outside the painting. …

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