Much like life, Tip Toland's work can be poetic, passionate, and now and again, unsettling. Her incredibly life-like sculptures—laboriously constructed of clay, stoneware, synthetic hair, and paint—capture our bodies at their most vulnerable: naked, aging, exposed to the ravages of time and the elements. Yet at the heart of her work there is compassion, playfulness, and above all, acceptance of self.
Toland's art represents the body as both physical being and as vessel, a mirror to the immaterial component of humanity. Her subjects are children and the elderly—each captured amidst one of life's simple, strange and self-reflective, even spiritual moments: an aging woman swings playfully above a yawning box of jet black sand; a bathing-capped octogenarian prepares for her ultimate "Dive;" a scrawny nine-year-old in a wet swimsuit shivers against life's chillingly harsh elements. Toland's artwork, which projects both innocence and a startling complexity, speaks to both our lost past and our ambiguous future. "It's the vulnerability of humanity that I'm after," says the artist.