Bristol based fine artist Toni Cogdell returns to the gallery this June with her exclusive release of paintings titled ‘Spark’. Toni has been busy in her studio throughout lockdown, seeking solace and reflecting on all that has been happening in the world. In this new work she ties her own experiences of the past year to the Bhuddist teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh and his reasoning – ‘The way out is in’.
“Nestled in darkness the walls of a heart are painted like the first caves. We live on the inside as well as in the world, beneath our layers, away from the fast-paced technologically driven life a small voice flickers like a flame. A spark, a fuse, the beginning of us, our centre, our lotus in the mud”.
“The constant whir of news feeds and social media, the hissing of white noise from screens adorning us like fairytale mirrors, delivers chaos to us and half truths; our hidden voice becomes smaller with each broadcast, with each new wave of ’10 ways to live a life’, ’10 ways to buy happiness’, pop ups, notifications, updates, the latest toolbox for connection.
This series of work takes a deep breath and turns inward, toward the poetry of our solace, to sit beside a hearth continuing to burn flames that won’t extinguish, in all its rage and wisdom, its chaos and peace, our unknown becomes the smoke that rises to our surface and perhaps this is the signal for us to follow. An inner compass that reminds us what we love, how we love and how we grow”.
This series of paintings are hauntingly beautiful. Toni has effortlessly captured her subjects in paused moments of reflection and calm; lost in thought while a tenderly chaotic energy surrounds them, yet they remain undisturbed. The rhythm of their breath removing them from the swirling storm. Using dabs of colour, stretched, scraped and torn textures alongside placed texts, Toni builds a unique atmosphere in each scene.