'The hearing dogs' centre', Toby Ziegler

Painting of an outdoor scene with uniform leaves falling from the trees

Oil on scotchbrite, 240 x 90 cm; 240 x 90 cm; 240 x 90 cm

Looking at the most basic of objects, such as a potato, it is terrifying to think how much information is needed to communicate the essence of its “potato-ness”; given an aeon, you could never convey the characteristics peculiar to that potato. You could make a virtual model on a computer (which is where all my paintings begin) and it would describe only its volume. But this is the kind of shorthand we use to gloss over the awful complexity of our surroundings.

When we decorate our homes with patterned carpets and wallpaper, maybe we are calibrating our living space, trying to define some boundaries within which to exist. Similarly the repetitive habits that we develop, such as cleaning our teeth or having a cup of tea calibrate the passage of time. I depict everyday scenes: petrol stations, parks, bathrooms, aeroplanes. These subjects are intended to function as motifs, rather than to prompt specific narrative readings.

Making my work is repetitive: hand painting hundreds of geometrical shapes; though there are muffled patches of gestural painting. It seems paradoxical, making gestural marks in positions pre-determined by a computer. It also gives the impression that the programme has malfunctioned –
or else I just got frustrated.


Toby Ziegler was born in London in 1972. He studied at Central St. Martin’s School of Art 1991-94. Recent exhibitions include two group shows at One in the Other Gallery London 2001 and 2002; Shine St. Pancras Chambers London 2002, Civilia Bluecoat Gallery Liverpool 2003, East International Norwich 2003 and Collection 1 Isabella Brancolini Arte Contemporanea Florence 2004. His one-man exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery London opens in February 2005.