Selected works by Toby Ziegler

Toby Ziegler
The Grand Cause


Oil, pencil and gold leaf on canvas

210 x 242.5 cm

In his paintings, Ziegler carefully reproduces his digitised models entirely by hand; each painstakingly rendered shape reveals tell-tale traces of the artist’s intervention. In The Grand Cause, Ziegler’s abstracted sunset subverts the rigidity of graphic design with the spontaneity of painterly expression. Vying between concentrated detail and intuitive mark-making, the perfunctory qualities of his repetitive patterning evolve as personalised statements of authenticity and affectation. Defiling the gold leaf surface with materiality of paint, Ziegler capitalises on the rich and luxurious quality of his ground to draw connotations to beauty and the grotesque.

Toby Ziegler
Designated For Leisure


oil on scotch brite

285 x 400 cm
Divorcing his subjects from the weight of their historical context, Ziegler’s mosaic-like motifs offer geometrically pure terrains for painterly degeneration. In Designated For Leisure, this contradiction between the value of technological precision and its degradation through imperfect translation are reinforced through the painting’s overwhelming scale and holograph-like surface. Composed on reflective industrial fabric, the painting’s surface shifts and transforms when viewed from different angles, revealing the landscape within as a chimera of light and perspective.
Toby Ziegler
The Liberals (3rd Version)


Cardboard, gesso and pins

Part 1: 323 x 220 x 120 cm Part 2: 279 x 220 x 105 cm

Toby Ziegler’s paintings and sculptures engage with ideas of the exotic and synthetic. Fabricating his images and sculptural blueprints on a computer, traditional motifs such as landscapes, still lifes, and cultural artefacts are removed from the familiarity of popular consciousness and reconfigured as templates of abstracted information. Inspired by a set of Victorian Staffordshire figurines, The Liberals (3rd Version) is made from intersecting cardboard panels; the kitsch subject matter and lowly materials take on a monumental quality, like futuristically designed sphinxes.



Simon Lee is proud to present a solo exhibition of new works by Toby Ziegler; his first solo exhibition with the gallery. Ziegler's highly evolved, individualistic approach grapples with historical models of painting and sculpture in a digital age.

The exhibition features new paintings in which the artist continues his practice of modeling a scene on 3-d design software and rendering it with geometric pattern. Increasingly though, this ordered system is bastardized by passages of messy, gestural painting. The tensions that are created by this combination of mechanical and hand-made reiterate a hybridization that is vital in Ziegler's techniques and ideas. In this new body of work Ziegler's practice fluidly shifts to explore the processes of painting in a more reflexive manner, breaking down previous systems employed to construct the picture plane. This allows a more ambiguous reading of the image. The apt motif of clouds is used as a starting point for these paintings. They are fugitive forms, and their shifting nature would seem to make them unsuitable to be described through geometry.

Three large sculptural works also reflect this tension between design and making. These facetted effigies are assembled from hundreds of tessilating grey triangles, but the black resin that binds them together oozes through the joints. Ziegler has collected visual triggers of the exotic. "Portrait Of C.L." is a human sized pineapple with an exuberant, awkward crown of leaves, "Tantalum" appears to be a pair of palm trees, and "In Praise Of Envy" resembles a classical Roman bust. These objects suggest archaic totems which once held great significance, but their historical meaning has been eroded and they have become domesticated.