Seabastion Toast

Ways Of Mapping Sunshine

May 26 - June 9 2018

Sunshine generally connotes warmth, vitality and a sense of contentment. In many world traditions it is synonymous with the radiance of spiritual enlightenment. Although philosophical and ecological musings inform the imagery in Seabastion Toast's new body of work, her intention is more to do with sunshine's power to illuminate and educe form. "The title of the exhibition really describes what we do as painters," explains Toast. "Everything we see is a reflection of light. My subjects operate to map the beams of light as they bounce off form. I am searching for the visual rhythms."

Toast describes her paintings as a symbiosis of figuration and abstraction. "I amplify abstraction to blur the boundaries in figure/ground relationships. The indeterminate quality of a form in its surrounds is to suggest the interdependence of the human and animal worlds. My works are a dance of ideologies!" Seeking the tonal patterns that have aesthetic resonance, Toast composes with light as much as spatial considerations. The direct spontaneity of her brush markings confers a sensory appeal that transports the viewer into an altogether different dimension of vibratory awareness.

The painting, Flower Bee, exemplifies this immersive reverie in the forces of nature. We witness the bee's outline fragmenting into a multi-hued bliss of petals and sweet-scented nectar. House Sparrow evokes a somewhat contrary response. The bird's shape is more defined and isolated from a background that seems to have retreated in wan washes of muted colour. A creature estranged from its natural habitat, the sparrow projects a defiant, almost accusatory countenance.

A hushed aura suffuses the imagery in Sleeping Swan. Head gently tucked in repose, the swan is afloat on inky waters, its plumage glowing white in striking contrast. Essentially, it is a thoroughly abstract work. Compositional mastery is evinced with a minimum of gestural strokes across the canvas. The vivid orange of the swan's beak, the streak of complimentary blue directly below in the water and flickers of bright pink create a loose triangular configuration. Attention thus focused, the beak's orientation towards a lightening of palette hints at a new day's dawning and the return of sunshine.

In summation, Toast imparts, "My artistic quest is to find ways of mapping sunshine: to describe essence and all the wonder when things have slowed and time is given to the fleeting moments that are an expression of our own lives."


Melbourne-born Seabastion Toast now lives and works in northern NSW. She holds a BA Visual Arts (major-painting), Southern Cross University 2000; Cross Institutional Study, COFA, Sydney 2000; University Exchange, Pratt Art Institute, New York 1999. Toast has won a number of art awards including: D'Arcy Doyle $10,000 Landscape Prize 2014 and 2nd place 2017; Peoples Choice, QRAA, Flying Arts 2013; Marymount Art Show Painting Prize 2012; $10,000 Gainsborough Greens Art Award 2011 and Acquisitive Prize, SCU 1998. She was Highly Commended in the D'Arcy Doyle Still Life Prize 2015 and has been a Finalist in Dust Temple Portrait Award, Gold Coast, Qld 2017; Gold Coast Art Prize 2014; Eutick Memorial Still Life Award 2015, 2014; Cliftons Art Prize 2014; Border Art Prize 2014; SCAP 2013; Doug Moran Portrait Prize 2013; Lismore Portrait Prize 2013; Mambo Art Prize, London 2011; Worthies Portrait Prize, Sydney 2011; Caldera Art Prize, Murwillumbah 2011; Highly Commended, Ocean Shores Art Expo 2011 and was Recipient of the Buzz Grant, Australia Council, Sydney 2003. Her work is represented in the Southern Cross University and Mirvac Group Collections.

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