Jenny Toth: Capture and Release

Jenny Toth : Capture and Release

October 30 – November 29, 2012

Reception POSTPONED TO SATURDAY, November 10, 3-6pm

In this solo show, Toth further explores her passionate empathy for animals and their intimate connection to humans. The work is loosely based around the theme of being in some way captured or contained–by a leash, fence, rope, or dense foliage–contrasted with imagery of shattered constraints, animals set loose, breaking through to freedom. Always grounded in painting from direct observation, Toth continues to weave together self-portraiture with this thematic core, often with an understated humor.

The varied work in this exhibit was mainly begun either in the land-locked terrain of colonial Mexico or in the very different environment and culture of an island village in Nova Scotia, Canada. San Miguel de Allende, a small city north of Mexico City where she has lived for many months in the last four years, provided sources for much of her imagery. The plants (including cacti of various kinds), animals (birds, lizards, dogs, farm animals and donkeys), and the stunningly bright colors of the environment all influenced her surreal yet personal narratives.

In a group of paintings finished this summer on Brier Island, Nova Scotia, Toth focuses on related ideas of confinement and compressed space, using landscape rather than animals.  These paintings revolve around the contrast of tightly jumbled spaces within and around an old birch tree, using mirrors to further compress space.  One painting of a model boat set into a windowsill also creates tension between indoor and outdoor space and suggests another facet of confinement, as the boat is fastened indoors rather than out to sea.

The exhibition includes works in many different media, frequently combining several techniques in each piece.  There are woodcuts and etchings, often printed on cut-out pieces of hand-painted paper, as well as some pieces that are hand-colored with watercolor after printing.  Toth collages these prints with drawings, dismantles them, and reassembles pieces into unusual combinations. Her work explores ways of isolating fragments, cutting into a form, and leaving parts disjointed. This show also includes a painting made from cut-up old paintings, collaged into a new image. This piece was in part influenced by her recent foray into stained glass–as shown in two small window pieces–which in its process separates out shapes and sections of an image, reminding the viewer of the surface. 

Captured and released, broken and rejoined, separated but united: in this show, Jenny Toth advances further in her multi-faceted examination of the world she sees around her.

Jenny Toth attended the New York Studio School and received her MFA in Painting from Yale. She is an Associate Professor of Art at Wagner College. Toth is represented by The George Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA, and Tabla Rasa Gallery in Brooklyn. Her most recent solo show was held at SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, NY.

For further information, please contact the artist at or visit her website at