Houston-based artist Toby Topek’s installation, Ephemera, presented fragments of natural and man-made materials collected on her journeys in the Mediterranean such as ficus leaves, bottles containing minerals and fluids, and tourist souvenirs, which she altered through her marking and re-contextualized through her presentation.
Her installations, comprised of multiple objects, attempted to invoke the healing potentials of each material and provoke uncanny surrealistic remembrances of past journeys. “My Shadow,” explored the idea of memory as a subjective process rather than as an objective examination of permanent records. “Investigating the act of seeing by engaging with particular places” the artist described her work as a “mapping of both the world out there and the personal coordinates she (I) occupies”.
“Samplings, snapshots and observations become materials for work which addresses themes of mutability, of geopolitical perspective, and of individual awareness.” Utilizing the metaphors evoked by maps, jig-saw puzzles, and encapsulation in bags and bottles, Topek provoked the viewer to investigate broader social and political issues through her unusual transformation of objects.