Room Air Conditioner
Monya Rowe Gallery, St. Augustine, FL
January 14 – March 18, 2017
In her third solo exhibition at Monya Rowe Gallery, Ann Toebbe continues her engagement with the room as a subject in a new suite of drawings.
Each of the rooms depicted are formally arranged and absent of figures. Toebbe’s focus is on what we don’t see. And yet, we are given a lot to see. The viewer’s eyes voyeuristically meander around the rooms’ contents looking for clues about who might live there. Insignificant objects become signifiers. We begin to project our own subconscious memory. As human beings, we have a desire to want meaning. Meaning in the choices we make in life and meaning in the things around us, but objects don’t possess meaning until we invest them with it.
Like Florine Stettheiemer (1871- 1944), Toebbe has a penchant for documenting the immediate interior surroundings of herself and those close to her. Room Air Conditioner (2016) depicts the artist’s childhood family room in the late 1970’s. Playdate (2016), a contemporary home, is centered around children’s drawings and a pile of Legos scattered on the floor. Without using photographs, each room is recreated solely from memory or recollection. Toebbe reconstructs the past, extracting details, thus questioning how we remember. The ordinary- a pillow collection, tchotchkes, family photographs- is transformed into the poetic allowing for the viewer to deduce new meaning. The past becomes our future.