Born in Bucharest, Romania in 1955, Aida Tomescu has been living and working in Sydney since 1980. Tomescu studied at the Institute of Arts, Bucharest, was awarded a Diploma of Visual Arts in 1977 and shortly after her arrival to Australia completed a postgraduate degree at the City Art Institute in 1983.

Tomescu has exhibited regularly since 1978; held over thirty solo shows to date and participated in national and international exhibitions and events including; ‘Folded in Three’ (2022), Flowers Gallery, Art Basel Hong Kong, ‘A Long Line of Sand’ (2021) Fox Jensen, Sydney, ‘Know My Name’ (2020-21), National Gallery of Australia, Art Basel Hong Kong (2019, 2018, 2017 & 2015), ‘Permafrost’ (2019), Fox Jensen, Sydney, ‘Wet Wet Wet’ (2019), Fox Jensen McCrory Auckland,  ‘The Anatomy of Gesture’, Fox Jensen McCrory Auckland (2017); ‘Abstraction’, National Gallery of Australia touring exhibition (2017-2018); ‘Chromoffection’, Fox Jensen McCrory Auckland (2016), Art Stage Singapore (2015), ‘The Triumph of Modernism’, TarraWarra Museum of Art (2015); ‘Abstraction: The Heide Collection’, Heide Museum of Modern Art (2015); ‘Vibrant Matter’, TarraWarra Museum of Art (2013), ‘The Mind’s Eye’, Art Gallery of South Australia (2013), ‘Out of Australia: Prints and Drawings’, The British Museum, London (2011), ‘Forever Young’, Heide Museum of Modern Art (2011), and ‘Contemporary Encounters’, Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria (2010). In 2009, a major survey exhibition of Tomescu’s works was also held at the Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra.


Aida Tomescu is the winner of the inaugural LFSA Arts 21 Fellowship in 1996 at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne. She is also the winner of the Sulman Prize 1996, the Wynne prize 2001, the Dobell Prize for Drawing 2003, by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.


Tomescu is represented in major art museums, regional galleries, and university and corporate collections within Australia and internationally including; The National Gallery of Australia, The National Gallery Of Victoria, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Art Gallery of South Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand, and the British Museum, London.


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…Aida Tomescu has revived a full-throated painterly abstraction, where colour and gesture flow through the work…she knits over and under surfaces in which the light and colour seem to be pulsing from within the work, not just laid on top. You feel her presence and her sensibility, moment to moment on the surface, in the painting.

Patrick McCaughey, Strange Country: Why Australian Painting Matters, 2014


“Watching the development of Aida Tomescu’s work over the years has been a thrilling experience…. one of Australia’s leading painters – in any style”

John McDonald, ‘Aida Tomescu – Fox Jensen Gallery, Sydney’, Sydney Morning Herald published September 26, 2019


My interest has always been to arrive at a unified image with fullness and clarity, to find a reality which affirms its own existence.

There is a silent moment in painting when we experience an absolute, total intelligence in the work through which everything comes together. The logic that develops is stronger than any emotion.  The painting begins to project back and I become aware of another presence; the subtle, vulnerable structure built from paint.    

Aida Tomescu, 2015


“Like blooms that appear quite startlingly before winter’s end, only to be ravaged by frost and wind and then renewed when the season of their being arrives, Aida Tomescu’s works are in a constant state of becoming. Over the years she has developed her own distinctive, continually evolving visual language, working from one group or ensemble of works to the next. Each series, irrespective of media, is like a new beginning; informed by previous experience and yet restlessly, determinedly eschewing the easy, known path in search of new life.

There is a sense of vitality whether it be in the radiance of the paintings or the persistent searching line in the drawings…It is possible to see the ways in which the drawings become increasingly layered, expansive and informed by colour like the paintings and the ways in which the aspect of drawing has increasingly entered into the paintings.

Ultimately what Tomescu’s art has shown us is that it can never be pinned down to one thing, that it is about open-ended associations, moving between the tangible and intangible. It is perhaps in giving up the need for tangible certainties in favour of more subtle imitations that this fluid state of becoming is revealed.

Deborah Hart, Senior Curator, National Gallery of Australia