Ned Tobin is a Canadian mixed media artist. Taking leads from the Dada artist Duchamp whose work aligned with the Dada sentiment of discontent and horror with the War, Ned explores the battle between humans and their charade to push away the natural world. The artist draws from Existentialism painters like Dubuffet or Pollock for his backgrounds, from which emerge, with gentle encouragement from his blades and brushes, his subjects. “Inspiration for my art, and mentality with regards to it, comes from such visionaries as the Agents of Change: Jaybo Monk, Augustine Kofie, and Remi Rough, as well older masters like Robert Rauschenberg, Jack Shadbolt, and Joan Miró. Artists that inspire me have an uncanny ability to immediately draw me into a dream of exploration.”
“Rather than setting out to paint something, I begin painting and as I paint the picture begins to assert itself, or suggest itself under my brush. The form becomes a sign for a woman or a bird as I work. […] The first stage is free, unconscious. […] The second stage is carefully calculated.” ~Joan Miró (Burstein Collection/Corbis)
Specific inspiration for Ned’s paintings surface from the intricate details of happenstance: the patterns on a dying leaf, the symmetry of a garbage bin against an alley wall, the peacefulness of whitespace, or a sequence of musical notes from a song. “I am attracted to natural beauty in this world. If you sit and watch it for a while, it’s easy to observe how it is perpetually in a romantic waltz with the earth! Everything is everything, everything plays on everything. We’re all connected together through energy or thought. I like to explore this with my paintings, connecting energy sources between all objects, much like Newton’s Law of Gravitational Attraction.”
Ned’s paintings emerge from the canvas naturally as each stroke of the blade is applied. Opening his eyes and heart to nurture that creation allows him to explore. It is this quest for growth, change, and revelations that fuels his creativity. “Leaving questions unasked, or implied, has a tendency to place the imagination into a theatrical play that floats away from the work, I push the questions that expose themselves to me onto the canvas, and the canvas answers me.”
“This serendipity with the canvas encourages a feeling of primeval dancing. Playing with the irony of internal personality battles and the conflicts they give rise to is fascinating to me. Like reading tea leaves is to a fortune teller, the canvas is blunt with giving these answers to me.” Encouraging this dance, Ned says, promotes a mutual existence with the canvas.