Toby Ziegler

The Dirt Fantasy,  2013

Toby Ziegler’s paintings and sculptures orchestrate a continual oscillation between abstraction and figuration and between classical composition and its digital manipulation and obfuscation. His process often begins with the appropriation of an image which, through endless reproduction, has passed into the visual subconscious. The image is then rendered by computer into modular planes, worked on, developed and modified. If the final result is to be a sculpture, it is then fabricated in three dimensions, often in cardboard or wood, or, as in the most recent works, in oxidised aluminium skins.

The process for Ziegler’s paintings is related: often, as with his recent series made after Breughel they are based on images of historical paintings, altered to occupy an uneasy territory between the familiar and the strange. The flat picture plane may also be fragmented into facets, onto which detailed motifs are often added, at first seeming to be a kind of mechanically produced pixellation, but on further inspection revealing themselves as hand-painted tesserae, shattering the surface of the picture plane into an endless prismatic refraction of light. In the newer works grids or repeated motifs are painted over the picture, carrying the eye over its entire surface.