In this day and age, we are seeing drastic social, political and physical changes to our normal conceptions of reality. Painter Leigh Toldi addresses her reactions to these pressures with her solo show “Pathfinders ~ Passage on the River Flow,” a collection of visual images that tell an abstract story of survival. This installation of miniature drawings and paintings pays witness to humanity’s instinctive move towards healthy personal and communal action when faced with the massive destruction of deep humanitarian concepts and rich natural environments.
Bear Country, from early 2018. (Detail in banner, above.)
Designed specifically for the Peninsula Museum of Art’s Studios Gallery, the exhibition is made up of over 100 miniature sumi ink and gouache paintings. From August 2017 through August 2018, the intuitive painter responded through her artwork to daily public and personal events as they unfolded. The images that emerged are not descriptive visuals of the disasters that occurred, but instead symbolically loaded artworks drawn from the perspective of mankind’s instinctively resilient nature. The tiny characters in her designs can be found exploring steep natural landscapes, immersing themselves in the joyful and physical movements of dance and skateboarding, or meditatively sitting at work and in prayer. With the powerful forces of nature at play in the background, it is easy to imagine that these figures are navigating through chaos on meaningful pathways of hope.
A tiny detail from a miniature created in the spring, 2018.
Through implementing a strong circular theme to the show the artist suggests that change, while painful, is part of a continuum that breeds a beautiful maturity of mind that is unique to the human species. Toldi’s intention is that any viewer of the display might imagine finding themselves within the imagery. In doing so they symbolically join others in a communal bond of concern and resilience that supports positive change for mankind and the planet.
An ink painting from autumn, 2017.
Leigh Toldi maintains Studio 26 at PMA, and is the author of this website's blog.