MAM is pleased to host this versatile and multitalented Helena artist. Phoebe Toland received her BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, and her MFA from Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, and has been featured in solo and group exhibitions extensively throughout the region. Her first solo exhibition at MAM celebrates and draws attention to an exciting new body of work.
The exhibition includes sculptures, paintings, and prints, but is built around the woodblock prints that Toland has been working on for the last two years. These prints are strongly informed by her approach as a painter. In Toland's work, the viewer counts on her ability to "abstract" and create highly resolved compositions through the layering of colors. With this new work, she adds an additional layer of translucency inherent in the medium of printmaking. Toland also extends the formal printed and painted works by creating technically beautiful sculptural forms with the prints. These sculptures, while formally resolved, complement the framed two-dimensional works and in a sense, become three-dimensional works.
Toland approaches her printmaking process much as she does the process of painting. It is important to note that these are not limited edition prints, but one of a kind works. She achieves her results through printing, layering, and collage. Instead of thinking of the print as a registered, one time pass through the press, these works are built layer upon layer.
Titles of works, such as Spill, Rust Belt Redux, State of Mind, and East Meets West speak to the human activities that have inspired the artist in her studio. While the work might appear abstract, the content, artist intent, and core of the work are inspired by world events.
"For some time my work has been focused on the interface between human activity and the natural world. Whether it's massive oil spills, rapid polar melting, desertification or unrestricted growth, our impact is extreme. This planet is our only home, and needs to be treated with care. I transform these events or concerns into abstract compositions by using images, color, line, and shape to express those feelings."