The advent of photography prompted a question that has been engaged by artists ever since; If an image can be indefinitely reproduced, where do meaning and value truly reside? This query has gained renewed relevance in the Information Age, as technologies of reproduction have increased in their pervasiveness and scope.
Digital methods of replication and reconstitution are the means through which Toby Ziegler probes the relationship between perception and narrative. By appropriating and recontextualizing images mined from online sources, he considers the levels through which narrative meaning is accumulated and disposed. In doing so, he demonstrates the protracted degrees of separation between spectators and replicated source objects.
In the selected work, Ziegler demonstrates his penchant for maneuvering meaning by imparting the quintessential objects of still life with the illusory depth and contrast of Op Art. “Equivalents for Megaliths 10” takes its title from a 1935 painting by British surrealist Paul Nash, who depicted mundane objects with monumental consideration. Ziegler’s reconstitution of tableware into optic imprints of arabesque patterning has a similar effect; dishes, bowls, and egg holders emit a mystic charge as they shift in perspective between a leveled arrangement and a vertical stack. Ziegler’s multimedia approach, developing compositions digitally and applying them manually, demonstrates the fluidity of materiality, and mutability of reality, characteristic of the new media age.