Toby Ziegler (1972 − )

Toby Ziegler was born in 1972 in London. He studied at Central Saint Martins, London before completing a two-year residency at Delfina Studios, London in 2006. 

Encompassing painting and sculpture, Zeigler's practice takes its starting point from the digital. His works often begin as computer-constructed images, which are then painstakingly transformed by hand onto canvas or into three-dimensional forms. The geometric aesthetic contrasts with the organic subject matter of landscapes, skies and animals; the use of computer programming speaks to a contemporary condition of understanding and interacting with the world through technology. Our acquaintance with nature and history often takes place at a distance, with film, photographic and virtual encounters replacing real experience; the surroundings that we understand best are much less exotic than we might hope.

Ziegler is also interested in the displacement of iconography throughout history. His geometric vistas act like a void in which objects are divorced from their historical or social context and time appears to be out of joint. In the series Equivalents for Megaliths (2004–05) Zeigler sketches out views of totemic forms amid a limitless landscape. Rather than connoting conventionally heroic or spiritual dimensions, the monoliths resemble teacups and other domestic forms. Perhaps we are looking at a futuristic space in which the commonplace objects of everyday life have become worthy of worship and the building of monuments. 

Glossary (6)

  • Canvas

    A piece of cloth woven from flax, hemp or cotton fibres. The word has generally come to refer to any piece of firm, loosely woven fabric used to paint on. Its surface is typically prepared for painting by priming with a ground.

  • Contemporary

    Existing or coming into being at the same period; of today or of the present. The term that designates art being made today.

  • Film

    A transparent, flexible plastic material, usually of cellulose acetate or polyester, on which light-sensitive emulsion is coated, or on which an image can be formed by various transfer processes.

  • Landscape

    Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection ( There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.

  • Painting

    Work of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is a tightly stretched piece of canvas, paper or a wooden panel. Painting involves a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's intellectual concerns effecting the content of a work.

  • Sculpture

    A three-dimensional work of art. Such works may be carved, modelled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, relief, and made in a huge variety of media. Contemporary practice also includes live elements, as in Gilbert & George 'Living Sculpture' as well as broadcast work, radio or sound sculpture.

Exhibition map

Current & upcoming exhibitions


  • 2014
    • Japan, Itami, Itami City Museum of Art

Past exhibitions


  • 2010
    • China, Shanghai, Minsheng Art Gallery


  • 2007
    • Bulgaria, Sozopol, Old Town Art Gallery


  • 2009
    • Wales, Swansea, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery
  • 2007
    • Cyprus, Nicosia, Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre
    • Croatia, Split, Multimedia Center
  • 2006
    • Croatia, Zagreb, Gliptoteka
    • Slovakia, Trnava, Jan Koniarek Gallery
    • Czech Republic, Prague, Prague City Art Gallery
  • 2005
    • Lithuania, Vilnius, Centre Of Contemporary Art
    • Estonia, Tallinn, Kunstihoone
    • Poland, Krakow, Bunkier Sztuki Gallery Of Contemporary Art
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