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New! Turn Out The Lights With Ann Toebbe

Power Outage by Ann Toebbe
8"x10" ($24) | 11"x14" ($60) | 16"x20" ($240) | 24"x30" ($1,200)

Taking a look at Ann Toebbe’s Power Outage for the first time, we were transported to the memories of our first thunderstorms, flickering candles, and the strangely comforting thought of huddling in the dark of our homes. Sometimes there’s a sense of adventure when the power goes out: a rush of adrenaline, the survival scramble to find matches and candles, and the ghostly quiet as you sit in inky stillness. Familiar things change shape under the influence of darkness, and flames or flashlights become suddenly saintlike.

In Ann Toebbe’s flattened room, we find ourselves first drawn to the bright halo of the candle and its reflection. After a while, our gaze drifts over the ephemera of the room, our eyes catching on paintbrushes, TV remotes, and favorite childhood books. This is no glossy magazine mise-en-scène; Toebbe’s room is lived-in. She has a gift for capturing the charming, easy elegance of an authentic real-life moment: the simple act of cleaning a rug, drying your boots, even the moment before a big sit-down dinner. In looking at her many 20x200 editions, it’s easy to make connections to moments in our own lives, rendered in vivid, geometric detail by her skilled hand. This striking ability to create scenes that are widely relatable is what led Jerry Saltz to include Toebbe’s show at Monya Rowe Gallery in his list of the best art shows of 2015 (we’re not shocked).

We’ve been thinking quite a bit about the significance of light and dark lately (probably because we’re all still talking about Star Wars). In Power Outage, we find the play between the two particularly interesting: there’s an importance to the candles illuminating the space, but the dark is also something to be visually explored. By emphasizing the transmutation of everyday objects in unconventional light, Toebbe proposes a new way of seeing an otherwise ordinary spectacle. One could say this shift in perspective is precisely the power of great art—to literally or figuratively see something in new light. 

With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman + Team 20x200