Toby Graser is one of New Brunswick’s most prolific artists. Her paintings have been in 15 group exhibitions.
Asked about her work, Graser recalls “When I first started painting, it was a hobby; something I did because I was bored. Before long I realized I didn’t control the painting, the painting controlled me. The images were there and I had to get them down before I lost them. I would get up at night and paint to make sure I didn’t lose them. It has been an obsession.”
My essential expression is first and foremost an emotional response to my physical and social environment and my life in that reality. As a painter I must reconcile that human emotion with the absolute need for a painting to be a complete and coherent statement, not just a cry.
As a painter, my artistic struggle is to reconcile, form, shape, colour, and texture in the work. In order to discipline that struggle, for the past decade I have worked in series or cycles, taking a theme or idea and revisiting it many times.The concepts of ' message ' and 'space ' have dominated my investigations.
The Windows series was an exploration of the world from a central point. The second series Messages concentrated on the bombardment of the central motif by external forces or images. That reality of contemporary life has been pursued with the Ancient Messages series and the Foreign Spaces series.I am currently exploring a third concept.
All paintings employ mixed media, collage, and fragments of existing expressions torn apart to suggest rather than tell. Collage, with its concept of excavation, the layering of printed images, tearing to reveal images beneath, has always excited me, and it would be wonderful to be able to explore this in larger works.