A gray scribble layered on top of a light blue square. The background is made of multiple faded yellow prints.

CREATORS – Tina Pressler

In ALL, CREATORS by McKenzie Prillaman

Name: Tina Pressler

Which came first in your life, the science or the art?

Actually, art was really my first passion.

I grew up in a small, rural village in Germany where I would spend endless hours in my grandpa’s garage/workshop creating paper collages and organizing odds and ends by shape and colour. Woodturning, the craft of using hand-held tools to cut a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation, was my absolute favourite activity.

However, as a first generation student, I choose a degree in medical laboratory sciences as a more linear approach to support my family. Interestingly, diagnostic analysis requires a lot of rhythm and repetition to recognize anomalies and calibrate for quality control. So in a funny way, these laboratory techniques and procedures are at the core of my art process today. I am never quite satisfied working on a single idea, but rather create a cycle of 50 or more experimental works answering the same question. Art and science have been in a constant dialogue throughout my career.

“I am never quite satisfied working on a single idea, but rather create a cycle of 50 or more experimental works answering the same question.”

Tina Pressler
Swirling, elongated tube shape with fishnet pattern. The background contains faded blotches of gray, yellow, blue, green, orange, and pink.
Geometry of Chance #21 by Tina Pressler, 8.5″ x 11″, acrylic on paper
Stripes of pink, green, blue, yellow and gray lie horizontally down the canvas. Different textures are imprinted on each of the thick stripes.
Intersection #8 by Tina Pressler, 24″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas
Stretched out oval shape with geometric pattern inside. Streaks of charcoal gray are in the background. There are also irregular circles in Green and blue.
Geometry of Chance #32 by Tina Pressler, 8.5″ x 11″, acrylic on paper

Which sciences relate to your art practice?

My paintings and prints explore a rhythmic dimension by integrating geometry with organic, structured accidents. The work focuses on boundaries and how they interface with space and movement. For me, it’s an abstract analysis of mathematics, music, and the environment in which we operate.

Ultimately, I’m investigating complexity in search of harmony.

What materials do you use to create your artworks?

Canvas and paper are my main substrates, embellished with acrylic paints and inks.

I usually start with a computer-generated Spirograph which gets transferred onto paper. I’m a printmaker without a press, so I use a gelatin plate with acrylic inks for colour. Texture and design layers are added with handmade printing plates, collagraphs, and cut out paper masks. Most often, I set an intention and title for the series before I begin working. What follows is a rapid experimentation where one painting sets the stage for the next. A ripple effect emerges as I let go of expectations and invite chance into the creative flow.

“A ripple effect emerges as I let go of expectations and invite chance into the creative flow.”

Tina Pressler
Abstract oval with fishnet pattern on top of streaks of green, gray and blue.
Geometry of Chance #107 by Tina Pressler, 8.5″ x 11″, acrylic on paper
Swirling, elongated tube shape with inkblots splattered on top.
Geometry of Chance #16 by Tina Pressler, 8.5″ x 11″, acrylic on paper
Faded vertical stripes of shades of gray, blue, and green run across the paper. In the center is a round imprint with a geometric flower pattern within.
Geometry of Chance #200 by Tina Pressler, 8.5″ x 11″, acrylic on paper

Artwork/Exhibition you are most proud of:

I am always most excited about the creative possibility that’s about to crystallize. Let me share a beautiful quote by Mark Rothko: “The progression of a painter’s work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer.”

As for exhibitions, I am most proud of a show at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.

Abstract yellow and peach colored shapes in the background with a stretched oval with a fishnet pattern on top.
Geometry of Chance #120 by Tina Pressler, 8.5″ x 11″, acrylic on paper
Irregular oval shape with a fishnet pattern and yellow printing within. Charcoal gray speckles are in the background.
Geometry of Chance #31 by Tina Pressler, 8.5″ x 11″, acrylic on paper

Which scientists and/or artists inspire and/or have influenced you?

M.C. Escher’s mathematically inspired woodcuts are intriguing to me for their exploration of infinity, symmetry, and tessellations. Antonio Vivaldi’s wholly original violin concerto The Four Seasons for its musical concept of representing a visual environment. Also, Australian Aboriginal art because it can be seen as a language in itself, communicating through beautiful patterns.

Large horizontal stripes of grays, yellows, and oranges. Imprinted textures change from top to bottom, starting with a flower pattern, circles, then a coil-like pattern.
Intersection #7 by Tina Pressler, 24″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas
Cloudy gray background with imprint that looks like a round, geometric mosaic. On  top are two large overlapping triangle outlines and gray oval outlines.
Geometry of Chance #112 by Tina Pressler, 8.5″ x 11″, acrylic on paper

For more by Tina Pressler, visit her website or Instagram.

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About the Author
McKenzie Prillaman

McKenzie Prillaman

McKenzie is a fledgling science communicator working at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has a background in neuroscience, and was a research assistant at the University of Virginia and a postbaccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health. After years of thinking she’d become a neuroscience researcher, she discovered her passion for sharing science with others. That finding, in combination with her lifelong dabbling in the arts, led her to write for Art the Science's blog. In her free time, she can be found volunteering with the Smithsonian Associates studio arts classes, trying new foods, and wandering around her home of Washington, D.C. Twitter: @meprillaman