|Observing groups of works become manifest in the studio, I am very much aware that process, at least any systemic or inveterate regime, as been set aside in favour of a more nuanced and open response to the needs of the individual works. In this sense Tomescu’s painting reality strives towards fragmentation. This fragmentation however does not imply lack of connectedness, rather the reverse is the case. Like a choir that is made of a thousand different voices, each painting is composed of innumerable interventions, touches, excavations, no two alike yet they cohere to form a new plastic reality with their own material being, their own composition and structure, their own inner life.
These newest paintings that form The Heart Was a Place Made Fast, follow on from her recent Sydney exhibition, where the heroic triptych, Sewn into the Stones of the Sky was acquired for the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Characterised by open areas of linen and assertive and sensitive application of pigment, Tomescu’s paintings resist the polite and pictorial, and now that the scale of the works has grown so profoundly there is a sense that their vigour is held within an appropriately scaled envelope.
Gustav Mahler said that “the spirit can assert itself only through the medium of clear form.” This too is true for Tomescu and especially if we add “and scale” to his quote. For it is the spirit of these new works that is so compelling and uninhibited – and this spirit has been liberated by the ambition and scale of these marvellous paintings. Nowhere is this more evident than in the new triptych Violet with Candles. The painting weighs commanding areas of deep quinacridone and cobalt violet applied in a vertiginous staccato against spumes and rivulets of paint that are delicate but no less certain.
Tomescu’s paintings are held in collections around the world and in many museums throughout Australasia including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of South Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Heide Museum of Modern Art, British Museum London and Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki. She has been awarded the Dobell Prize for Drawing, the Wynne Prize for Landscape and the Sir John Sulman Prize by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
The artist will be present for her first solo exhibition in New Zealand and will give a talk at the Auckland gallery on Saturday at noon. All welcome.
Andrew Jensen, January 2020