Residing in northwestern New Jersey, Jim Toia has developed a symbiotic relationship with the flora and fauna that graces his landscape. The lush hills and woodlands, bisected by rivers and streams, emphasize the elementary rhythms of growth and decay. The inherent fecundity of these surroundings is his constant reminder of the cycles of nature, an ever-present affirmation of the cruel and splendid impartiality of life and death.
His work, a direct response to observation, forces us to step closer in order that we may see. His polemic approach is directly in conflict with our traditional impulse to step back. Instead, Toia chooses to stick our nose in his “captures” in order to unveil nature’s agency.
His spiderweb drawings, natural masterpieces of architecture, acknowledge both strength and fragility. Their structures are a magnificent array of forms, punctuated by a sobering reminder that their real purpose is that of a death trap. The spore drawings address other notions of universality in their simultaneous implication of the micro and the macro (from quantum to the cosmological). His ant colony casts, gem-like examples of repetitive patterns, denote everything from river systems and Bonsai trees, to optic nerves and Purkinje cells in our retina and brain.
Toia’s “captures” speak to the larger notion of our perceived relationship with our natural world. Despite our best efforts to control our environment, we are deeply connected and bound to nature’s ontology, both intellectually and aesthetically. It is this physiological bond that supersedes culture itself.
This is Toia’s sixth solo exhibition at the Kim Foster Gallery. His work has been reviewed in numerous publications including the New York Times, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, Time Out, Star Ledger, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Village Voice. The Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University will feature Toia’s video installation “Dissolving Gardens” from September 1 – November 6, 2010.