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Below is an excerpt from a catalog essay by Phoebe Hoban, the American journalist best known for her biographies of the artists Jean Michel Basquiat and Alice Neel.

"Toby Rosser’s work emanates sheer velocity. The shapes and forms he conjures up on canvas spin on their own axis, in their own sphere of gravity. Yet despite their implosive energy, they are executed in a pleasing, muted palette. It’s easy to see the early influence of the comic master R. Crumb and hints of Philip Guston in Rosser’s busy yet dreamy shapes and composition".

Interview with Toby Rosser for the 2023 Group Exhibit in Houston, Texas

With an almost violent onslaught of imagery in our daily lives it is the responsibility of the contemporary painter to create works that invoke emotion and meaning rather than rendering a narrative subject or illustration.

Subjective or ambiguous imagery invites a viewer into the picture because it does not attempt to provide a clear or absolute meaning. This encourages the viewer to engage with the painting on a more personal level and bring their own interpretation and perspective to the work.

This is not freedom for the painter. Unclear or ambiguous imagery can not be implemented at the expense of cohesiveness and coherence in the composition. The painter’s effort should achieve a balance between ambiguity and clarity, using the former to spark the viewer’s imagination and the latter to provide aesthetic structure.
---Toby Rosser

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