Born 1988 I Lives and works in Brussels, Belgium
The Brussels-based, French-born Pablo Tomek uses industrial cleaning sponges as his main tool for painting, applying the paint in broad, expressive gestures on large canvases. Water flows through the working process when he wields the power of a pressure washer to remove still-wet layers of paint. From the shapes left behind Tomek begins to create the appearance and composition of the painting.
Lipstick is a drawing implement familiar to many people, since it can be used like a pen or felt tip on a variety of surfaces. Even if Tomek does not actually use lipstick as a tool, the topmost layer gives that impression. The strokes applied on top of the pure colour gradients of the ground layer seem to float in colour space – a characteristic feature of Tomek’s work and an element that grabs the viewer’s attention.
In his new works the sponge has shrunk, in places being reminiscent of a paintbrush, and the new approach to colour has brought in brightly glowing tones. The references to tags and letters made by others spring from Tomek’s background in graffiti and street art, which is subtly combined with the tradition of abstract expressionism.
Tomek, who is showing in Finland for the first time, has recently had solo exhibitions in Paris, Cologne and Berlin. His works are in European collections such as: Société General Bank (France), MIMA Museum (Belgium) and Gothenburg Art (Sweden).