‘I want to engage the viewer to connect with a place which lies inside them-selves. (…) It is my desire to touch and communicate with the person who is looking at my paintings, on a deeply human and existential level.’ (L. Tomasko)
The material of the bedding bears the traces of this nocturnal inner life. In the abstract works in the exhibition, the folds of the sheets dissolve into interwoven lines and overlapping layers of colour. They create depth and structure in the picture and deep-seated emotions seem to materialise in them. What emerges seems like dreamscapes, like emotions, thoughts and memories captured in material. Through her unbiased, intuitive use of colour, Tomasko captures the full spectrum of human condition and emotion. Often, as in 'The Question' (2019), different moods intertwine through complex structures or simply coexist as in 'Strident Green' (2020).
During the first Covid-related lockdown in spring 2020, Tomasko began work on the series 'Hold on to Yourself' in her New York studio. Taken from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, the title of the series reflects the seriousness of this existential crisis during the rapidly spreading pandemic, in which the fragility of human existence became increasingly apparent and many people were thrown back on themselves. At the same time, the need for simplification increased. In the mainly small-format works on paper and canvas paper, the artist acts intuitively and spontaneously in oil pastels, reducing her palette almost exclusively to black. In the paintings of the series on aluminium or linen, which are also predominantly monochrome, coloured accents increasingly emerge from the background.
Often, as in the large-scale canvas work 'a secret that wasn't' from 2019, clearly defined brushstrokes stand out against blurred sections. Tomasko uncovers what is hidden in the subconscious and captures it in her paintings. In doing so, she penetrates to the essential pillars of human existence: to longings and fears, to repressed and forgotten areas of our lives that remain mostly locked away from our consciousness and yet exert a powerful influence on us:
‘Sleep to most is no more than a necessity. However, maybe during those hours spent in this almost unconscious state, something is illuminated that cannot be seen in the brightness of the day.’ (L. Tomasko)
As if in a surreal dream, a pile of clothes and other textiles seems to have developed a life of its own in Tomasko's video work 'Domestic Hymn' from 2015. The constantly moving fabrics first pile up and then gradually disappear again as if by magic. The video builds a bridge to Tomasko's earlier motifs, to figurative depictions of stacked clothes and sheets, but also to the paintings 'Hymn (January)' and 'Dirty Linen' from 2019, whose more horizontally aligned structures are reminiscent of piles of laundry.
A new book on Tomasko’s work with essays by Kirsten Voigt, Raphy Sarkissian and Kelly Grovier will be published in early April. It provides a comprehensive overview of her painting of the last 20 years.