Toby Rosser

Toby Rosser at “Visual Language & Catharsis”


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  • BA-DUNK-A-DUNK, 2022 48" X 36" acrylic on canvas

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, in Ba Dunk a Dunk, (2022). The antic composition and the organ-like forms, clearly in motion, evoke his famous motto: ‘Keep on Truckin.’ Another influence, Rosser’s father, a commercial illustrator and skilled draughtsman, can be detected in his dynamic use of line, which serves almost as a net or partial net to contain the hyperactive image. There are also hints of Philip Guston, particularly such paintings as Gladiators, in Rosser’s busy yet dreamy shapes and composition.

Cyclops (2023), is the most confrontational of Rosser’s works on display. Its central phallic form is bracketed by structures that look mechanical: the image could be that of a deconstructed robot. Swamp (2023) is oddly musical. The image is slightly subdued, yet harmonious and serene. In this alternate world, everything is in its place. Rosser’s range is evident in such works as Housatonic #14 (2022) a dynamic hive/cyclone hybrid, in muted acid green, and the far more formal and defined Aqueduct (2022), which resembles a painter’s palette against a splash of paint.

 – Phoebe Hoban

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