Cooler by the Lake
December 11, 2021 to January 27, 2022
Tibor de Nagy Gallery is pleased to present Ann Toebbe, Cooler by the Lake, an exhibition of new paintings. This is the artist's second show at the gallery.
Cooler by the Lake is set in Ann Toebbe’s Southside Chicago neighborhood, Hyde Park, and the title refers to how local news stations report on the weather. As with Toebbe's previous bodies of work, the paintings in this exhibition stem from a very personal place. Toebbe has lived in Hyde Park for sixteen years with her husband, working and raising her two daughters and stepson. Toebbe’s paintings explore the people and the places, the culture and the climate that are woven into her daily routine as a working artist and mother -- home, garden, and studio; grocery store, bakery, park, and local school. Her compositionally dense vignettes capture the sensory impressions and memory layers accumulated in hours and days spent in Hyde Park, especially when her children were younger, and the realization that this is the neighborhood her children know as home and where Toebbe and her husband will grow old.
The painting Northside Southside (pictured above) anchors the series with a romantic projection of Toebbe’s condominium community, East View Park, a cluster of 1920s brownstones just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan. The artist’s studio, situated in a garden-apartment studio, looms over the picturesque lakefront park near their home, Promontory Point, marking a thematic divide: Northside, slate gray-green and churned up by the wind, and Southside, blue, undulating, and calm. Northside and Southside wryly symbolize both Toebbe’s state of mind and the deep-lying geographical, cultural, and racial divisions of Chicago’s neighborhoods.
The historical and cultural undercurrents that define Hyde Park play through Toebbe’s paintings in patterns and subtle details. Obama’s House offers a simple street view of the former president’s long-empty but closely-guarded residence on the border of Hyde Park’s upscale enclave, Kenwood; seen from the dividing street, Hyde Park Boulevard, the famous home is intentionally hidden by a clump of overgrown evergreens, a symbol of pride and a bittersweet reminder of his presidency. Toebbe’s work explores details that hide as much as they reveal – the old men in the corner of the cafe, the feral critters inhabiting the back yard alley, the crowded reading rug of a kindergarten classroom.
Ann Toebbe was born in Cincinnati and received her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1997. She earned an MFA in painting from Yale University in 2004 and a DAAD Scholarship to the Universität der Kunst, Berlin in 2004-05. She has been the recipient of numerous grants including a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant, and a Chicago Dcase and IL Council for The Arts Grant. Recent residencies include The Ragdale Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and AiR at Pilchuk Glass School. Over the past two years Toebbe curated an exhibition at The Spring Break Art Fair, NYC, and was included in group exhibitions at Nassima-Landau Project, Tel Aviv, Goldfinch Gallery, Chicago, Standard Space, CT, 1969 Gallery, NYC, Poker Flats, MA, and Allouche Benias Gallery, Greece. In March 2022 Toebbe will mount a small survey exhibition at The University of Illinois Springfield curated by Allison Lacher.