Diagramming Domesticity

At a recent art fair I discovered the work of Ann Toebbe, who makes paint-and-collage images of domestic spaces.  I found them strangely satisfying, for all sorts of reasons.  The images are constructed out of tiny, colorful slips of paper and meticulously-rendered passages of paint or pencil or ink.   The craftsmanship drew me in, and I lingered over all the details, enjoying the way the image coheres out of so many small points of near-abstraction.  Then, I began piecing the room together, following the various viewpoints the artist depicts: bird’s-eye; 45-degree; straight-on.   You can’t see the whole room at once – you have to cast your eyes around, taking it all in.  Of course, this is how we always perceive a space.  Finally, I realized I spark to all this precision in the service of capturing the ineffable.  I love that we see Jim’s toy car collection and the nubby sofa cover and the notes scattered on the desk.  All these objects furnish Jim’s Studio – these are the components of creativity.

 

"Jim's Studio," by Anne Toebbe.  Collage with elements of drawing and painting, approx 2 feet high by 3 feet wide, c. 2012

“Jim’s Apartment,” by Anne Toebbe. Collage with elements of drawing and painting, approx 2 feet high by 3 feet wide, c. 2012

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